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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Best of 2005, Part I

171 posts later (all accessible via the archives section) and the last day of the year it seems appropriate to reflect on what contribution to humanity this blog has made in 2005:

27 April: Year Zero: Trying to make a comment on Sir Humphrey's to put them right over their conservative and pro-American ravings I found I had to have a blog first to do it - so that night (thanks to free blogging with blogger.com) that's what I did. From one of the first postings:

"The intention is to convey ideas, provoke debate, provide a forum for discussion and irritate people and institutions that deserve to be so disturbed, always with a view to reform and advancement of ourselves, our society, our state, and our world. Kia ora."

That continues to serve as the mission statement of this blog.

27 April: Election date book: With the Crown's budget fast approaching notional betting opens on speculation of the date of the election - the odds being updated regularly. I had fixed an earlier date thinking Labour was not dumb - but they were, left it to the last minute and only just scraped in. Many people (mostly other bloggers) participated and a large proportion picked the 17 Sept. date early on - a smart group of people these bloggers.

27 April: Al Zarqawi revealed as US hoax: With the conservative pro-US right-wingers parroting every piece of spin out of the Pentagon as if it were lasered into tablets by Almighty God Himself, I had these observations about the supposed American bete noir that sent Sir H's populace into apoplectic rage:

"Zarqawi is the new Dr Evil for America. Does this towel-headed Saracin Pimpernel even exist? We heard the same, scarcely credible, slipped-through-our-fingers story when the Yanks levelled Fallujah.
It suits the simple-minded to have a single Dr Evil character that they can lay the blame on for what is an insurgency of greater complexity and popularity that they are prepared to admit."

And you know we have heard the US reporting crazy stories that he has just managed to ellude them yet another time throughout the year - and yet nothing at all approaching evidence or proof. 100,000+ troops, GPS, 1 Trillion dollars of military expenditure and they still can't get him...? What happened to the computer of his they supposedly got? What a joke.

5 May : On the language of immigration: One of my better and terser pieces. I know this because Russell Brown took exception to it. Basically our immigration numbers are too high and are the wrong people. This was put in strident and doom-mongering (yet accurate) terms. But no-one picked up on the Enoch Powell reference for the conclusion:

I don't so much see the river Tiber frothing with much blood as a squat tiolet down which we are flushing our heritage and future.

11 May: Definition of a blog:

"The least popular people using the widest possible medium to convey the most unfounded ideas to the smallest possible audience for the minutist of effects."

11 May: Urban social apocalypse: On the Auckland Regional Council's attempt to cram everyone into apartments:

If Auckland had a slogan it would be "planning for yesterday - tomorrow"

15 May: Gormsby show 7 periods too long: One of my better TV reviews:

"If threatening children with anal rape and raving about "half-castes" and "gooks" is your average white middle-aged Wellingtonian man's vision of the future of New Zealand comedy then why has New Zealand On Air given them only a mere $1.1 million for their ground-breaking seven part "comedy" series?"...

26 May: Sedition charges: First of a few posts on my sedition case. Depositions hearing, pre-trial appearances etc. No Right Turn cares - he's done more work than my lawyers on it. As for everyone else? They don't seem to care that if you state your opinions against the government they can arrest you and put you on trial in this day and age.

1 June: We down with whitey?: Amalgamating anti-Maori arguments in the comments section from other blogs I consolidated it here "...because I really can't be fucked having to recycle abbreviated content on every blog to put you ignorant red necks in place individually."

7 June: Chinglish number one, ok! Critiquing an Asian immigration conference paper is easy and amusing when the English is execrable and they purport to: "grow us up". I put the whole issue this way:

We have a very liberal dilemma.
1. We want to maintain a free and open society where people can be who they want without restrictions on language, beliefs and associations.
2. We want an egalitarian society that has minimum and universal standards allowing all to participate culturally, economically, socially and politically.
3. We want to safeguard and encourage our existing infrastructure, institutions, culture and lifestyle, ie. Our heritage.

In conclusion: "every foreigner added does not make us more unique - it usually detracts from our uniqueness."

7 June: Martyn Bradbury's first guest blog: My Leftie comrade, Mr Bradbury, begins a series of irregular guest spots. He spouts his usual trendy Leftie angles (that I sometimes even agree with) and the bile and vitriole of the unreconstructed conservative hard-core rightists comes spewing out under the cover of anonymity.

17 June: Old/Single/Young: The Century's 3 Great Demographic Challenges: Something intellectual for once! First World/Old, China/single, Africa/young.

21 June: HOV/HOT/TOLLS: And no sooner was that posted than the official debate seemed to turn to High Occupancy Vehicle lanes and tolling inner lanes of motorways. Just a matter of time wasn't it.

27 June: Marx, Pakeha, Debt, History, Property and... crash?: The colonial system and how NZ has continued it's basic tennets unaltered to the present day. One of the more thoughtful posts as was the following:

27 June: If NZ history was 24 hours in a flat: This is something David Slack at Public Address is likely to rip off in one form or another. A sort of role-play that puts the history of NZ in terms of one day in a flat:

"Maori first arrived at the flat that is NZ at midnight...
The first time anyone even saw of a non-Maori was about 4pm. Just drove past really, everyone finished their dinner around 7pm when quite a few started arriving in flash cars with new toys and wanted to doss on an ad hoc basis as permanent guests of the flatmates...
Can someone who arrived after 9 at night understand that their behaviour and arrogance is insulting. Do they think the entire history only begins when they paraded onto the scene, waving their new roster around and claiming they were now the head tenants and the old flatmates had to do what they were told or else they would not be allowed back into the house?

28 June: Don't Panic!: The economic plasma screen bubble is beginning to crack - other bloggers have info on this too.

30 June: Political Feng shui: An analysis I found of political logos was very revealing. LABOUR: "Engulfed by fire... tarnished reputation." NATIONAL: "Power of the sword... glimmer of fighting strength... doused by other members of their own party." NZ FIRST: "Winston is a rooster."

10 July: Dirty, filthy, swearing, aggro, street scum: Attacked by disgruntled littering prostitute on way home. Ahh, life in the big city. So rich with diversity.

14 July: Brown's land of the light weight crowd: The only book review of the year and it woulkd have been the best anyway:

"Dedicated to "the bloggers," media personality and Labour Party apologist, Russell Brown has had his smirk come to life in a shambolically uneven historical homage that would sit smugly with his complacent white middle class acolytes whose ignorance of it's failure on almost every level is, inevitably, a prerequisite of their membership...."

20 July: TV Review: A gamble of two half-wits?: Pushing the boundaries of the name suppression order of Marc Ellis became a bloggong sport for a time. This was one of the closer shaves - at least according to Brown's Listener column if I read it correctly.

25 July: ELECTION DATE: PM Confirms 17 September!: Gotta love that Westminster system whereby the PM can call it anytime they like eh? The winners were: Greg Stephens, Vernon Small, Michael, Molesworth & Featherston, David P Farrar, SageNZ, Ashley Clarkson, Phantasm., Kevin List, Dave (Big News). I had it at 3-4 by that time so it wasn't that much of a surprise having been the favourite for several weeks. Election book opens with Nat-Lab head-to-head largest party vote. $1.85 Labour $1.90 National. Centrebet had it the other way around - they got it wrong in the end too, and I got it right after a wild ride it ended up about the same. I never had National ahead at any point by the way.

27 July: Labour's home to Dr Cock-up: Intense personal criticism of the failings of the individuals responsible - that was part of the reason for this blog as explained in the mission statement and this was the first real attempt to put it into action.:

"COCK-UP No.1: Dr Lisa Ferguson/Leaky homes. COST: $52m to date. INCOMPETENCE: Nov.2002 to resignation July 2005 only resolved 344 out of 3,300 claims whilst staff partied and owners fumed.

COCK-UP No.2: Dr Ruth Frampton/Painted Apple Moth. COST: $50m to date, $50m over next 2 years. INCOMPETENCE: May 1999 to resignation in May 2002 let moth spread from 1kmsq that would have cost a few million to half of Western Auckland costing $100m and aerial spraying tens of thousands of people."

These people are responsible and yet they get no adverse criticism in the mainstream media. A real shame. The comments section attracted someone who may or may not be Dr Frampton or her very close colleague. Amazing who actually reads this stuff.

Will post Best of 2005, Part II soon.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Worst columnist of the year 2005

Just edging out Jim Hopkins is Joe Bennett.

Joe thinks he's funny - as do many South Islanders and the elderly. The judge found his latest effort typical:

The year 2005 was a vintage one for bad language," said the MC, "a truly vintage year." Those responsible for the vintage were ranged before him in the hall, dressed like peacocks and as happy as larks.

"I honestly don't believe," continued the MC, "that there has ever been a better year for bad language. And every one of you here has done his or her bit. Well done."

The assembly basked. Consultants grinned at academics, educational theorists shook hands with sports reporters, radio announcers hugged managing directors.

Then they all sat back to enjoy the Annual Bad Language Awards, and to see especially who had won the big one, the coveted Craplang Cup.

Of the minor awards, there is space to mention only two. The trophy for Inane and Gratuitous Hyperbole was won as usual by a radio disc jockey, but in unusual circumstances.

The winner was originally placed fourth for his praise of a breakfast show quiz contestant who had correctly identified Tony Blair as the Prime Minister of Great Britain by selecting his name from a list. The other name on the list was Nicole Kidman.

"Nothing exceptional there," commented the MC, "but when the disc jockey was told that he had won fourth place, he immediately described the result as 'utterly rad and toadly awesome', whereupon he was promoted to first place."

The Verbal Hypocrisy Cup was won by a minister of state. When informed that he'd won, the minister described the cup as a mere bauble, and said that under no circumstances would he attend the awards ceremony. Nevertheless, he bounced on to the stage saying how proud he was to be the MP for Nowhere.

He received tumultuous applause in recognition of his years of toiling in the vineyard of verbal dishonesty.

But it was on the Craplang Cup that interest centred. The MC stressed that the judges had faced a tough task. "They had to weigh the derivative machismo of rugby commentators against the obfuscations of the civil service. They had to judge the anaemic puns of television news against the evasions of politics and the jargon of commerce. The quality of entries was uniformly low and the final decision supremely difficult...

Oh God make it stop!

Apologies for such a long quote to prove what a waste of time reading this crap is. But the point is that this is supposedly "humour". I have even seen him described as a "humourist" for fuck sakes. Was there a time when things actually had to be humorous to be classified as humour? Doesn't someone have to be humorous to be a humourist? Joe Bennett strikes me as a tiresome Pom with little ability and this year he has bored himself into the Worst Columnist award. His fellow Cantabrian (fuck)wit runner-up with his entire personality confined to the colour of the rims of his eye glasses has finally been outdone.

Why is it I can't find Chris Trotter's column on Stuff but this shit is freely available?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Because once they get here we don't expect them to learn our languages do we?

Should we let foreign powers assist in encouraging our supposed new New Zealanders to remain foreigners forever? Manukau City Council is a keen advocate of suiting "the needs of the diverse communities." Well maybe what they need is the space to integrate instead of the insistence from the political elite that every immigrant be firmly rooted in their foreign culture rather than in ours. Maybe we really need that to be a successful nation instead of a nation of permanent immigrants:


12 December 2005

Taiwanese Donation to Manukau Libraries Helps Youngsters Learn Chinese

Generous multimedia donation enhances foreign language learning

A generous donation from the Taipei (Taiwan) Economic and Cultural Office will give Manukau youth the chance to be exposed to the Chinese language.

Bilingual books and DVDs were presented to Manukau Libraries on December 9th at the Pakuranga Library.  The books, in Mandarin Chinese and English, will be distributed through the Manukau library system and available for all to enjoy.

The books are a fantastic resource for those wishing to discover Chinese or to become familiar with their mother tongue.

Manukau Libraries has a growing collection of Foreigh Language titles and hopes to further relationships with groups like the Taipei (Taiwan) Economic and Cultural Office, to ensure the collections suit the needs of the diverse communities.

When shops and businesses all over Auckland have mostly or exclusively Chinese or Korean language signage the question is 'why are some immigrants unable to communicate in our languages?' The question is certainly not 'why are some of our people unable to communicate in the languages of the new immigrants?' as seems to be the case with the people at the Manukau City Council.

They don't need hand-outs from Taiwan and Council patronage to support their bloody culture. China has a base of 1.2 billion people, the internet, TV stations - and radio stations in Auckland - to help foster the Chinese culture; so what does the Manukau City Council think it can possibly add to that? Their problem isn't speaking and reading Chinese - it's speaking and reading English! We have two official languages in this country - none of them is Chinese.

In Indonesia they ban Chinese language material from entering. I think maybe the Singapore secession made them hyper-sensitive to the interests of the Chinese in that part of the world. We don't have to ban anything - we just shouldn't be encouraging it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Thanks for the link

Saturday, December 24, 2005

War for Xmas: Chad v. Sudan

According to this Al Jazeera report Chad is at war with Sudan.

Lucky that the Khartoum government made peace with the Southern rebels earlier this year, isn't it? So the Arab government could focus on genociding the Western Dafur region no doubt. Well that's all well up the Khyber now - so to speak. The rebels from every side of two countries (whose legitimacy of governance is stretched very thinly) are concentrated along their mutual border. Throw in the small African Union force and it's all on.

Someone get Koffi out of the sauna - it's time to make some phone calls.

US domestic spying: Senator begs to differ

With all the allegations - and confirmations - of "warrantless" wiretaps and covert surveillence authorised by the Bush Administration to monitor suspects inside the US there are two schools of thought from what I can make out:

1. "Inherent right" argument AKA "Prior authorisation" argument: The President/executive has always had these rights. Which is also linked to the "Neccessity of circumstance" argument: The President/executive had to regardless of whether the right was inherent or not.
2. "Whayoutalkinbout, Willis" argument: No such explicit authorisation exists and no other type of authorisation exists either or else the President would have asked for it specifically. Which is linked to the "free society" argument that "spying" internally must have judicial oversight beforehand (although some have claimed it is should rather than must).

I don't pretend to have researched this matter exstensively, and nor do I wish to step into the entrails of domestic American politics, but I have noted today's Washington Post opinion piece by the former Senate leader, Tom Daschle (Democrat), who states quite clearly his thoughts on point 2:

The White House argues that Congress granted it authority for such surveillance in the 2001 legislation authorizing the use of force against al Qaeda. On Tuesday, Vice President Cheney said the president "was granted authority by the Congress to use all means necessary to take on the terrorists, and that's what we've done.

As Senate majority leader at the time, I helped negotiate that law with the White House counsel's office over two harried days. I can state categorically that the subject of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens never came up. I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps. I am also confident that the 98 senators who voted in favor of authorization of force against al Qaeda did not believe that they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance.

and is this what smells like the whiff of the smoking gun?...

Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words "in the United States and" after "appropriate force" in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas -- where we all understood he wanted authority to act -- but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.

Now what Daschle says does not necessarily mean the warantless/covert activity was illegal per se - but it does make the Bush Administration's arguments more tenuous. I wonder what calibre of penmanship the Attorney-General can muster to provide cover for this one?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Over the holidays

For our overseas visitors: That rat-chewed scrap of parchment being gawped over is the foundation document of New Zealand: The Treaty of Waitangi (1840). Made between the several sovereign entities of Maori tribes and confederations and the British Crown it is the original authorising instrument of legitimate government over the entirity of the country and is therefore the foremost national constitutional text in existence. It is a Treaty of annexation between nations and a Treaty of governing arrangements as the annexation came with conditions that remain in force - its status as irrevocable is thus moot. This document was declared invalid by a colonial Chief Justice in 1877, as part of the process of dismantaling Maori rights in order to promote and entrench the rights and powers of the British settlers, and despite references to it (esp. in fisheries legislation) the government acted as though it had no force. Only since 1975 has the government began to behave as though this Treaty ought to have some sort of force. We have a Constitution Act as well, but that is very brief and very vague - the rest of the constitution being scattered amongst various laws and unwritten procedures. As such we have no unitary "written constitution". I believe that only the UK and Israel are in a similar position. I also note that with Northern Ireland and the Occupied Territories, colonialism and land confiscation is also a part of the system in those two countries as well. With such unrestrained power will come unrestrained abuse of that power.

The panel containing a kiwi and flags in the right hand sidebar links to the Convention for a Republican Constitution. This is an online concept dedicated to establishing a process to create a constitution for our country that is formal, written, and in a unitary document. It is hoped that whatever may emerge can be presented in some form the day before Waitangi Day so it may be circulated for discussion - and perhaps a further online round.

This is not designed to state what we believe our constitution to be at present(separate codification projects are underway within the Convention site and at the Holden Republic). This effort is to explore what we want our constitution to become by both discussing the precis or basic document and also the process to move that text towards its implementation. To assist contributors an extensive list of links to other nations' constitutions are provided (almost all are links to the English language versions).

I read somewhere that Governor Grey wrote some of the provisions of our old constitution whilst on holiday/expedition in the middle of the North Island. So too with this project, these profound deliberations may best be made in the peaceful, relaxed, reflection of the holiday period. If anyone has something they would like to see in any new constitution I encourage them to make a contribution. To avoid any potential blogging bitch-fights and to keep the thoughts on the policies rather than the personalities all comments are to be made anonymously.

We can talk about the game and go round in circles; or we can talk about the rules of the game and get somewhere.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Council waste #1

Wandering past another Auckland City park and they are busy tearing up all the new bollards they installed only a few months ago - and appear to be replacing them with older type ones. This is the same park that had an extensive upgrade including (in the words of the local Community Board Chairman) "a semi-wet wetland" that became too wet as the old rubbish dump underneath being exposed started to stink and turn to mud. So they filled it in and turned it back to grass which it originally was and should have been in the first place. Also, next to the bollards on the footpath is a seat - it faces in the opposite direction of the park. Now what fuck knuckles are responsible for these mistakes? Is there a worse council?

Everything the Auckland City Council does, in relation to public amenities at least, is similarly afflicted by stupidity and waste. I've seen shiny new seating and bus stops etc built only to see them moved to where they should have been a month or two later. It's as if they click and drag these things like it was sim city without realising what the actual impact of circumstances are for each case.

I know people who work for various councils in various capacities and they accept their lot and the way the system operates. Spend it or lose it - that's the budget system. If the officer says do it then the elected representatives tend to follow their lead. The project will suck up as much resources as possible and will never be completed if there is no next stage because the people in power (ie. the planners and other bureaucrats) will lose that power once it is over - and the roading and other lobbies want them to spend as much as possible... then there's the bung tendering system... Well, it needs to change.

There is a reason that the only pot-holed or cracked paving you will see in a city like Christchurch are patches that are in the midst of being replaced - and there is a reason that Auckland is one shattered, patchworked mosaic of one inferior and temporary layer upon another - one city is competent, modest, understands its priorities, is responsive to its ratepayers, gives value for money, while the other is bloated, pretentious, changes its priorites every three seconds, consults till the cows come home and then ignors it all, and gives poor value for money.

People who think joining the 1.2 million people and the five urban councils together into an über city must realise that there may be no efficiencies of scale at all - in fact there could well be inefficiencies of scale. If you thought the parade of white elephants and over-spending at the Auckland City council were bad, imagine what they would be like with triple the budget!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Mr Bhatnagar has called it a day. He has unblogged himself from the blogosphere to focus on real life instead.

Four things I shall miss:
  • Wildly partisan rants on the failings of the left bloc on the Auckland City Council.

  • Messianic adulation of whoever is the current leader of the National Party.

  • Leaks and sundry speculation that was so often the good oil.

  • The unwarranted and electorally damaging criticism of the Act Party

  • In my survey of the Aotearoa Blogocracy (nearing completion) I had Bhatnagar's blog at No. 9 - based purely on inter-links. This table, apart from now having an extra place now, will be Farrar-esque in magnitude and the directory to end all directories.

    In the course of this survey I have realised what bloggers have probably always thought: that DPF is Lord of The Blog because he links to everyone and every links to him. Everyone that is except About Town. After the petty spat (variously described as a "war" or "conceptual art project") between AT and The Whig DPF de-linked - and AT similarly. This is a tear in the space-blog continuum. Mr Farrar, whether people have noticed or not, by having an open inclusion policy has created the premier source of links for political blogging in this country/polity. He is a gate-keeper of sorts, a type of Registrar-General of Blogs. The Aotearoa Blogocracy will improve upon this situation.

    Funny how much detailed work you get done on everything else when there's a deadline around the corner?

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Prices & rent v. buy

    An economics lecturer in Auckland has posted this analysis on the housing issue:

    I compared buying a $400,000 property versus renting it for $400 per week. These are realistic prices and rents in Auckland at the moment. Under the buying option I assumed a 10% deposit (i.e. $40,000) with the remaining $360,000 borrowed on a 25-year mortgage. Under the renting option I assumed that the difference between the mortgage payments and the $400 per week rent was invested (together with the deposit). Under buying I also assumed annual maintenance, insurance and property taxes of 1% per annum.

    Putting this together with reasonable assumptions about growth rates of property values, growth rates of rentals, mortgage and savings interest rates revealed that after 25 years I'd be marginally better off if I rent rather than I buy...

    I also used a simple econometric model to generate forecasts of real housing prices. On the Reserve Bank Website you can get data on a nominal house price index back to the late 1970s. By combining this with a consumer price index I calculated a real house price index (which I set to 100 at the beginning of my data series -- in the 4th quarter of 1979). I then used a relatively simple model to generate forecasts of this index. The forecasts look like this:

    The following graph shows annual growth rates:

    That's all very optimistic. If immigration continues to climb (and other people are talking about this too) then the demand that creates the price increases will still be there. The easy option of creating consumption by adding consumptive units is the thinking of a simplistic government choosing the most simplistic option. They don't care that it causes house prices to rise and now we have an even lower rate of home ownership than the UK! They don't care that it causes inflation of everything else as well - and they especially don't care for the infrastructural and social problems that occur because of it.

    BAD: Inflation is too high, interest rates (because of the inflation) are too high, the exchange rate is too high (because of the interest rates), house prices are too high (because of immigration).
    GOOD: Near full employment and are at capacity ie, max. production in many areas.

    The problem I think is that the Reserve Bank kills off productive growth and rewards or encourages consumptive (ie. "plasma screen") growth through it's narrow policy rules and it's assumption that it is operating monetary policy successfully by expanding credit based on housing valuations. I beg to differ.

    Memories of a Geisha at Opium

    Memoirs of a Geisha movie preview yeasterday. All drinks and no food at the pre-screen reception held in Opium - in the Queen St. Civic bloc. Great oriental design apart from the cheesy glamour photos of models on the wall. Waitress said it looked like someone had cut them straight out of magazines. Late 80s/early 90s ones at that. The tiered seating of the dining section at the end of a sweeping bar/concourse was reminiscent of a Singapore restaurant atrium in the upper levels of a high rise. The space is rather wasted as the views are of the very large earthquake-proof diagonal beams and then a panorama of:- the expanse of concrete that is the Aotea Centre and the square. The waitress also informed me that it does not even have live music - despite a large natural stage area created by the amphitheatre of tiered seating.

    Well after chatting and drinking with this attentive hostess for far too long, for a second time, I found an opportunity to make a clumsy, perhaps even gouche remark in inviting a favourable comparison between the models in the pictures and the very good looking waiting staff... ... ... ... ... (realises the implication has sexual overtones, she freezes for what seemed like eight hours, her beautiful grey/blue eyes darted around the room and then mumbled that she better get back to serving) It wasn't an embarrassment/blush it was an embarrassment/horrified. Sadly, I think I know that look. It's the startled/sickened/natural repulsion look when someone old enogh to be Great Aunt Maude starts talking to you in a dodgy Ponsonby Rd bar and you have a coversation as if she is Great Aunt whoever and then it suddenly dawns on you why she is acting rather peculiar... and the thought of someone that age wanting to fuck you is naturally, instinctively repellant enough that the immediate reaction right after the initial amazement is over is: EXIT STRATEGY CONDITION RED. "Ahh, yeah... I have to do this.. ahh.. thing.. see ya..." Often this is accompanied by up to two steps taken backwards during the retreat mumbling recitation of miscellanous and vague excuses. Well anyway - I know it when I see it. More's the shame because as I left I realised she was being a perfect geisha: a cute, young, polite conversationalist, serving alcohol. Perhaps next time I will be the perfectly behaved Danna (patron).

    So they served us intoxicants (with no food) so that our perceptions would be warped and the movie reviewers would compromise their professional standards. But this was a smaller crowd - and not at all the usual suspects. The well worn beret of the Herald's wankier reviewer wasn't present so I guess the movie wasn't going to have subtitles. Just thick Japanese accents. It was a bit like a female version of that classic book-cum-TV mini-series Shogun. I thought the whole plot was epic, but the telling may have been a little trite. I haven't read the book, I must say: it was written by a man and the movie was directed by a guy - but I sense that women will enjoy this one.

    It played like a 2 part mini-series running back to back. But it was captured in - and I don't use this word often - sumptuous terms. The costumes, the lighting, the colour: it was a fetishistic saga. The concepts are Japanese aesthetics taken completely off the deep end (as they tend to do) in the context of the rituals and codes of order, rank and heirarchy of the pre-war Japanese Empire. There is a bondage element here that might appeal to women (?).

    Plot: Poor cute child of peasants sold into a Geisha house with sister who is separated into distant Geisha house, girl becomes woman, journey into life and ways of Geisha, manipulates men, struggles to top of Geisha, war, struggles to top again.

    But is it just a kinky, toned down sex novel for a female audience? Is it just an American male prnographic demure Asian fixation gone too far? An American salute to Japanese eroticism? The movie never becomes those things I think. The female characters were strong and the performance of the lead (both actresses as the child and adult of the same character) were convincing. The male characters were in the background the whole time and never came into focus until the home stretch. All the intrigue that we see is not between the men. If men had anything to do with this tale then the Geisha would learn the art of Ninja, the sex scenes would be a lot more than the sillohettes and fast cut-aways on offer here - and when the war comes we would see it.

    I really don't know what to make of this film - perhaps because I may not be in the target audience. The craftsmanship of the visual aspects: cinematography, lighting, design etc. are worthy of study. As far as nailing the aesthetics of Geisha (the dance of pre-defloweration being the most stunning) it was superlative. But it was a long movie and that storyline just didn't really interest me apart from the connexion with the main character.

    Maybe a 3 or 3.5/5 for men and a 4 or 4.5/5 for women. But how much does alcohol, let alone pondering the faux pas with the waitress, play in these things. And the thing that made it worse was the pathetic plot line that the businessman who was kind to the Geisha as a child was obsessed over by her despite her not seeing him again until she is almost a full Geisha and the most prized women of her time. And then I reflect on that waitress - if I had had the right words, the perfect conversation - perhaps in 10 years time when she is older and lowers her standards accordingly... (insert Tui punch line here).

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Public Service Announcement. Re: art.2

    Congratulations to Zane for making the finalist cut for his poster competion and to all those who assisted him. The concept was a nice one: New Zealanders individual immigrant/migration stories in text form - with the colours of the text making a picture of:

    I didn't read any Maori histories in there however. Which I think is appropriate for the flag used. It is often what is left out that says as much as what is put in. My effort should have been in a more appropriate format also then I wouldn't be complaining I suppose.

    It will be displayed after it has come back from Jerusalem in Auckland in the new year - at the Britomart centre (?).

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    Could you tell me, Mr Hitler...

    Out of curiosity - and nothing more - a friend and I looked up Hitler in the NZ white pages. And there it was : L O Hitler. Lives out in Avondale, apparently. I speculated he'd bound to be South African. So I rang the number. The man who answered said he's South African. Who would have thought? The only person called Hitler in the phone book is a Yarpie 'Bok. Had quite a thick accent - a German accent. He isn't related to Adolf Hitler he reckons. Flat out denied it. Then he mysteriously hung up right in the middle of our conversation... odd... very odd.

    He should seriously run for council.

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    Term "weblog" coined this day in 1997

    A word from the editor.

    To celebrate the 8th anniversary of the "blog" (Wikipedia said so - so it must be true), TUMEKE! has undergone some revision. I hope the readers and users of this site appreciate the improvements:-

    Firstly, the corporate banner and logo proclaim the origins of this blog and it's author. "Tumeke" is a Maori word meaning to startle and has more recently come to mean "too much". It can be summed up as an exclamation mark. This is what the blog ought to be doing: exclaiming. Lately it has become rather suburban in tone, if not in subject matter, so expect more defiance, scheming and a higher quality of invective. The spelling and grammar will however always come off second best.

    Secondly, the English language media sites in the blaze of icons below the banner will grow beyond the Asia-Pacific region to encompass the leading mainstream and "alternative" publications throughout the world in the near future. This is a feature that enables TUMEKE! to be a convenient front page portal to a reputable variety of international news organisations.

    Thirdly, the icons identifying the political affiliations of the bloggers immediately before their names will be extended to cover all of the blogocracy as soon as I can figure out where they all stand (thanks Spanblather for leading this charge in late August). This icon innovation I have not seen on any other blog in Aotearoa or elsewhere and therefore I have patented it as a unique device and my lawyers will sue anyone attempting to copy this feature on a blog.

    Finally, additional upgrades will occur soon to clean up the design aspects and to provide access to more content. This experiment in the fusion and transformation of blog and website will continue over the holiday period - by the new year expect to see a creature more fully formed.

    Tim Selwyn

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Congress waterboards Bush's pro-torture policy

    Good news from the cooler heads on Capitol Hill as the Washington Post reports:

    On a 308 to 122 vote, members of the House supported specific language proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the U.S. government. Though lopsided, the vote was largely symbolic and does not put the language into law....

    The vote specifically instructed House negotiators to include McCain's language, word for word, in the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill, a decision that is not binding but carries significant political weight...

    With the Senate's 90 to 9 vote in support of McCain's language earlier this year, both houses have presented veto-proof tallies to a White House that has vowed to strike down any bill that would limit the president's authority to wage the war on terrorism.

    So it's finally getting through then is it? Torture is bad - and that the rest of the civilised world looks askance at the barbarian empire and their presumptions:

    The vote sends a clear signal to the Bush administration that both chambers of Congress support the anti-torture legislation and want the government to adopt guidelines that aim to prevent damage to the U.S. image abroad. The White House has been aggressively pushing to create exceptions for CIA operatives and to water down McCain's language to keep it from limiting interrogators' options. But it appears that the administration and House Republican leaders lost some leverage yesterday.

    Battling the congress to keep torturing! It's just startling to the rest of humanity. It's the sort of debate we would expect in Haiti or Saudi Arabia or Malaysia. Terrorising the terrorists? McCain was tortured during the Vietnam war (by the Vietnamese) so perhaps that is why he is so staunch over this issue.

    Grey Lynn motorway to bridge next step: 2

    Oh dear, oh dear... The Auckland City Council has backed the Waterview motorway option. Grey Lynn connexion to the bridge here we come!

    As I said in the earlier post: Transit has a hidden agenda in pushing for the Waterview link to the Pt Chev. interchange - to get a motorway to the bridge. The Herald says:

    "One councillor, Glenda Fryer, accused Transit NZ of holding a gun to the city's head by announcing to a closed workshop yesterday afternoon that there would either be a Waterview route or no route at all. The council voted 16-3 to support in principle the Waterview option...

    Deputy Mayor Bruce Hucker opposed an amendment put by fellow City Vision/Labour team member Leila Boyle to delay a decision until March to allow community consultation... He said the boards of both Transit and Government funding agency Land Transport NZ had voted to link State Highway 20 to the Northwestern Motorway via Waterview."

    That's right everyone, bar three people, have caved in to Transit's scare tactics. The road lobbyists and their supporters (the C&R Now bloc) couldn't care less where it goes or even how much it costs as long as it is NOW! NOW! NOW!.

    This decision is based on strong-arming by Transit and non-disclosure of the real reasons they prefer the route. So they will destroy the Oakley Creek gully and then as soon as it's finished they will say a link through Western Springs/Grey Lynn/Westmere/Herne Bay is logical to build, must be built, has to be built - and the whole process of destroying the city's remaining open areas begins again. If they were honest we could plan for the whole thing now. But of course the planners know that if they tell the truth there will be opposition from all these suburbs that will be affected in the unwritten stage 2 and that might scuttle their idea. I hope the Western Bays Councillors weren't dumb enough to vote for it.

    Broken Flowers: the review

    Since I have seen it displayed on a blog as if it might be good, let me put you right:

    "Is this shitty movie over yet?"

    Broken Flowers

    Writer/Director: Jim Jarmusch
    Cast: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Julie Delpy.

    Jarmusch is showing his age - and not in a good way. From the sleazy, lingering close-ups of teenage legs and gratuitous nudity into geriatric dialogue that treats the internet as "computers" we see perhaps what over-rated writer/directors such as Kubrik can descend into when they aspire to reach the inner recesses of their own arseholes. It's not a pretty look.

    Murray plays a wealthy retiree who receives a pink letter claiming to be from an ex-girlfriend who says she had his child - who is 18 - and is now in search of him. She doesn't leave a name and his neighbour sets up an itinerary for a road trip to search for her: and thus the plot excuse for a series of cameos by aging, ex-A list female actors.

    To Murray's audibly inaudible indifference the road trip commences. The cameos are unremarkable - in contrast to the clunky pink theme motif which is thrashed beyond death to the point it becomes almost a pantomime as Murray would discover a pink rose or pink whatever at each location. Yawn. Half the film is Bill Murray staring mutely with a blank expression - reflecting the rapidly building disconnection and increasing ambivalence at audience level.

    If Jarmusch put this film into black and white, sped it up a bit, turned the sound off and used static boards of text like it was 1905 - the genre for which this film seemed to have been written - then it would still be only slightly less of a shit movie.

    Like all terrible stories the sense that it is almost over prompts that horrible, uneasy feeling that the screen is just going to go black and the credits roll despite leaving us neither caring or able to recall if the whole purpose of the road trip had been resolved. And that is, of course, exactly what happens. Yawn. 106 minutes of your life gone and for which there is no legal recourse for compensation.

    2 out of 5 stars - and that's being overly generous.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    Sydney race riot response: curfews for non-whites

    Still can't quite believe this report in The Australian:

    Members of the Arab Christian and Arab Muslim communities have called for a curfew for all Lebanese youths over the weekend... Community leaders said Lebanese youths should not venture out after 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and should stay home all day on Sunday.

    "Those who violate the curfew will be doing so in defiance of their faith, of the law and their community leaders. We are all united in opposing violence," Lebanese Muslim Association leader Ahmad Kamaledine said.

    Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen welcomed the call for a curfew. "We must remember that it is first of all in the home that we learn to respect and care for others," he said. "So I trust that all parents will join these community leaders in encouraging their own young people to exhibit mature and thoughtful respect for other people at all times."

    Are they kidding? It's the whites who should be put on curfew if anyone has to - they are the larger and therefore potentially more damaging of the two groups. So the white yobs bash the "Lebs" and everyone else not sufficiently white enough to constitute being a full member of the Australian species - and the victims of this propose to let them have their way! This is just crazy. Or to put it the other way: the Lebanese gangs bash everyone else not sufficiently muslim enough to constitute being a full member of their gang and expect their victims to be taken out of circulation for their own safety?

    And behind it all the cultists - wanting to enforce their dictates, the idiot Christian wanting the Muslims to observe Sunday by staying off the street. Am I misinterpreting this - or if it is "youths" do they (the elderly) mean to keep the kids at home while they go about their business? Is every youth a criminal? Or do they not trust whites enough to let them out of the house? "defiance of their faith, of the law"! These people want religious laws, Sharia is what Muslim cult leaders are saying - the ability for the State to enforce religious edicts and the Christians see the same opportunity. And a curfew is one of the bluntist:

    I note the churches attacked (presumably by Muslims) were of a Chinese and a Tongan congregations - cults and ethnicity - a strong brew. Hardly an integrated community is it? All of the separate ethnic groups with their separate cult groups to keep them mentally impoverished, inbred, and of course, exclusive. That is one of the few positive aspects about these race riots: the destruction of cult property: I hope every group gets their temples burned down (except of course for the historical ones), grow brains and become atheists. If the suckers would just abandon the organised superstition and the lies that keep the child molesters and craven hypocrites in control the world would be a better place.

    Tonight the NSW upper house will be passing the new anti-riot law passed in the lower house:

    Under the changes, police will have the power to lock down trouble spots, confiscate cars, and order hotels and bottle shops to stop serving alcohol. [SMH]

    No mention of curfews thank GOD!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Exit, stooge left

    Dame Ann Hercus, former Labour Party cabinet minister, resigned as TVNZ board member tonight.

    Her resignation is nothing to do with leaking information to the media... nothing at all. It's a total coincidence that the management and board have a melt-down, things get leaked to the media and/or Maharey (TVNZ minister), the CEO is so undermined that they have to resign take 6 months garden leave before retiring, and it all comes out at the parliamentary committee this afternoon - it's all a totally unrelated coincidence apparently.

    These are the sort of dodgy antics that happen when the governing party attempt to stack every board with their own lackies. I would tentatively put Ian Fraser in that category too, with Bill Ralston being his proxy lacky with his day yet to come. There are more hacks in the top echelons of TVNZ than a TB ward. With everyone thinking they sit on the immediate right hand side of God they all behave as though they have sole charge of the shop, throw little tanties when they don't get their own way, and then blame everyone else for the failure. If it's not Ross Armstrong wearing out the corporate credit card it's Hercus et al. trying to cut them all in half despite peoples' fingers still being grasped around them.

    The squabbling is unseemly and stems from mishandling by Ralston and Fraser and pressure from the government on the board. Add the public service/nz content "Charter" as the giant whale the board has climbed on top of in the room - that management pretends isn't there - and you have a recipe for friction.

    It's a mess. Political appointments to any board must be stopped. Not stopped because they will always end in a mess (they won't necessarily), but stopped because the practice is basically corrupt. It's called patronage and it stinks to high heaven. Merit only ought to be the measure. The problem is the Nats use it too and they won't stop it either (remember the Lotteries Commission after 9 years of National - with even Jim Bolger's old secretary on it! The whole board being Tory plants - going to junkets in Scandanavia with their spouses for fuck sakes). An Abolition of Political Patronage Bill? Haha ahhh - as if.

    Grey Lynn motorway to bridge next step

    See the SH20 website for more detail.

    Why are the Auckland City officers "urging councillors to back a $1.15 billion motorway extension through Avondale to Waterview?" as reported in the NZ Herald yesterday and not the Rosebank Rd (that's the left one running down the penninsular) option? - It's not just because that option will cost $400m more either.

    You would think this entire issue would have been worked out some decades ago and the land put aside... but then that wouldn't be Auckland would it? Another expensive ad hoc addition to complete a circuit... or is it? What the Herald report did not mention is that the hidden reason that Transit (if not the Council) wants the Waterview option is so they can run it through Grey Lynn to join up with the Harbour Bridge taking North-South pressure off SH1.

    A straight, simple North-South link would more logically go through Rosebank Rd - but it is more complicated than that. They will make their link through Waterview and then they will present the residents of Grey Lynn with a fiat accompli of running it to the bridge - another "unplanned", expensive ad hoc addition. They should be honest about their intentions for once. Look at the map above and tell me that the right-hand option to Pt Chev. is not logically followed with a link (by-passing the spaghetti junction) to the bridge. By failing to front up and make the acquisitions and planning necessary for that next step they do everyone a disservice and increase the cost.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005


    Round-up at the Tim Blair blog on the violent incidents last night in the West and South of Sydney. See also "the arse end of the Anglosphere" and Wogblog for the Aussie angles (isn't the Australian vocabulary so...ahh... colourful). The tit for tat has no end in sight at this point in time. The police are woefully unprepared and probably under-resourced to deal with the hit-and-run vandalism and attacks on random individuals in those parts of the city - whose population is the size of the whole of New Zealand let us not forget.

    Groups of angry young men are driving around with weapons looking for people who don't resemble themselves so they can give them the bash for being... different. Are these thugs actual "gangs" in the sense of an organised enterprise of members? or are they actually genuinely spontaneous groups? I think both. This is very dangerous - the Sunday mob violence of the white crowd is now being mirrored by the other community. This is classic race riot stuff like Hindu v. Muslim in Gujurat, India, white v. black in Los Angeles, etc.

    A disturbing semantic understanding has been in use for some time now and was apparent from the TV interviews of witnesses and participants: I'm not talking about the use of "skippies" or "skips" to describe white Australians or "wogs" to describe anyone less than 100% Anglo-Celtic, but the equation: "Australian" = white. The Lebanese are somehow not Australian (despite most of the Lebanese being second generation) - but this is not just an imposition by whites. As the gang rape trials revealed in evidence that "Aussie pig" was used as an epithet for the white girl they were animalistically dehumanising, so it appears that some of the Lebanese have began to think of themselves as not being Australians too. I wonder how the mixed schools and their students are handling it?

    The problem for New Zealand is that to escape the troubles both the Lebanese Muslims and the white Australians may take advantage of their free emigration rights and come here - taking with them their fears, animosity, cultism and racism. Many English immigrants came here (usually settling on Auckland's North Shore) because their neighbourhoods had a black or Asian influx, same too with many white South Africans (also flocking to the North Shore) when their virulently racist regime collapsed and they weren't privileged anymore.

    Are we to be the dumping ground again for the paranoid white exodous in search of a genric European white homeland? For the separatist Islamic cultists in search of a generic first world nation to build their own closed society? We don't need either of them, and yet they are two and a half hours away from making this country their permanent home.

    Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oik! Oik! Oik!

    Race riots in Sydney... this weekend it's whites and "Lebs" in Cronulla, a while ago it was Aborigines and cops in Redfern, and Serbs and Croats at a soccer match. Earlier this year it was Aborigines and cops in Palm Island, Queensland. So Aussies are racist and there's ethnic tension.... we all know this already.

    We see the TV pictures of a fat white oik proclaiming "this is our land" and recall the basis for the assertion was the extermination of the natives and their continued alienation. We see the seeming inability of the Lebanese Muslims to come to terms with their women-hating gang rapist sub-culture. "Un-Australian"!? Are they? Australia was built on the dispossession of Aborigines and the breeding of the criminal classes, it is a coarse and vulgar culture that routinely glorifies outlaws and whose unofficial national anthem is a homage to a thieving scumbag - and now they use the term "un-Australian" to describe a mob (of drunken white hooligans numbering in the many hundreds if not thousands) who attack people who are different to them? Mate, cobber - that's dinky-di 'Strayn - true fuckin' blue.

    But the beach riot is just a fleeting, violent spark in a very long cycle of two giant stones grinding upon each other. The reason for it is that from difference comes conflict. And for the smug New Zealanders who assume the burqa-clad Muslims of Roskillstan and Sandribad are in anyway intergrated into our society and that allowing the Islamic cults to enforce their uniform codes and practices in State schools is effective integration, to those who think that allowing masses of immigrants' family members and elderly cultish, non-English-speaking parents into the country is a good thing - then you are sadly mistaken. We (and in particular Auckland) are in the position that Sydney and the UK were in twenty, thirty years ago.

    We are not doing us or them any favours by encouraging their religions, by encouraging immigrants to retain their language and not learn ours, by excusing their abhorent practices, turning a blind eye to forced and arranged marriages, and pretending that the racism of the average English, South African or Australian is acceptable. All these people, coming in numbers so large that ghettos are inevitable are unacceptable. Any established population that becomes estranged from immigrant communities and their later generations will react violently against each other to violent intrusion of the "outsiders" if the situation is allowed to continue.

    All populations contain violent, angry young people with a misplaced sense of racial pride, ethnic fear and nationalism - you cannot just ignor that or say that because they do not share your view of a multicultural/multiethnic/sectarian nation that their views and the consequences of their actions should not form a part of policy - and in particular immigration policy. The problem is with this country's high European-immigrant descended population. Many white New Zealanders think that more immigration is always good because without that policy they would not be here. When they start thinking like natives and not like immigrants that would be a good start. It is not hypocritical for a descendant of an immigrant to see the positive aspects of abandoning the high immigration policy.

    We behave as though the ugly Aussie incidents will never happen here. Well that sort of hate and bigotry have been on display here too - only because it's against local people, Maori, then it goes undetected. I had some trouble hunting it down, but remember:

    More than 500 people took to the main street of Nelson yesterday in protest over the issue of Maori claims to the foreshore and seabed. Carrying placards saying "Whites have rights too", "When do we stop giving?"and "One law for all New Zealanders", the march left Wakatu Square shortly after noon. Protesters chanted "Foreshores for all" as they marched to the Church Steps, where they heard speeches from organisers United Future leader Peter Dunne and Nelson National MP Nick Smith. -NZ Herald 29/07/2003

    Racist bigots on the march in this country get not just supported by, but addressed by, conservative politicians. Racism is racism. "Whites have rights too" - they really mean: "- rights to Maori property." "When do we stop giving"!? - what about "When will you stop taking things off Maori"? Never apparently. Elected white MPs were proud to march alongside those signs and heartily endorsed the sentiment of those nasty, utterly ignorant hate-mongers. White rights and beaches - mate, in Nelson the local MP can't wait to get to the head of the mob. If they weren't so old, if they had been drinking for a while then who knows?

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Sunday night's radio show: 10pm-1am

    AKL 100.6FM/702AM. WEL 98.7FM CHCH 738AM.
    Talkback number: 0800 723 465.
    Listen here.

    Mr. Selwyn & Mr. Bradbury review the week.

    Some topics:

  • David Benson-Pope
  • Rendition
  • The cricket
  • Kyoto
  • Saddam's trial
  • Wananga
  • Smoking ban
  • NCEA

    We will be checking the comments during the programme for those who wish to participate.

  • Saturday, December 10, 2005

    Green snot

    Visage of victimhood: you just know she's wringing her hands don't you.

    Frogblog has some pitifully limp croaking along the "I told you so" line, lamenting inaction on the didymo infestation. The Greens connexion with the government borders on self-harm - they are in an abusive relationship and they keep going back for more. Pathetic. They will have no impact unless they twist arms and launch attack campaigns, embarass the government... you know... like an opposition party. But no, they wring their feeble hands, get politically raped by Labour and then go and give the rapist their parliamentary support. They say "no" very quietly and let themselves be taken advantage of habitually.

    Anderton is a sack of shit and must be attacked relentlessly about didymo, campaign links to river users should be made, protests organised, cross-party attacks co-ordinated etc. We must eradicate didymo, not protect it! - not more fucking whining and comments that make Anderton sound good!!! The Greens aren't competent at politics (ie. achieving things in a political format) because they don't understand that politics is fundamentally based on conflict and competition - co-operation is secondary. The corollary of this is that they don't have enough intelligence to realise their optimal political position within a given issue.

    So Anderton announces he's sacrificing the entire South Island to an invasive foreign pest weed that will destroy the eco-systems of most rivers and what does the internet mouthpiece of the Green Party say:

    "Great news that the full weight of the law has finally been put in place to deal with the didymo situation, but, I hate to say it, ‘told you so’ a year ago.
    Of course, as Fish and Game have said (offline), ultimately preventing the spread of this noxious goo comes down to individuals taking action. As Jim Anderton said on Morning Report this morning, you can’t line every river with bureaucrats to stop people. But the legal sanctions coming online at least transmits the seriousness of the situation.
    Why does it take an environmental problem to really get out of hand BEFORE serious action is taken? This is a classic example of a situation where the precautionary principle should have been applied at the outset. These legal sanctions should have swung into place a year ago when it was known it was in the Waiau and therefore COULD have been elsewhere, not now that we know it has spread throughout the island already."

    "Great" fucking "news"!? So Anderton's hyperbolic flippancy that diverts attention from what ought to be done is supportingly parroted. Unbelievable. The Greens should of got off their fucking arses and done something a year ago is what should have happened. They are the ones propping up the bloody government and yet they behave as though they had no responsibility for it. Fuck, it is the GREEN party isn't it? Do your mother-fucking job you useless, sanctimonious pieces of shit. Their inaction and incompetence are assisting the destruction of the natural environment - the exact opposite of their whole purpose for their existence. They are just simply infuriating.

    Do the Greens deserve to be there at all? They refuse to filibuster, they play by "rules" that only they accept and have no effect on the operations and reality of the competitive, winner-take-all political environment. So what is the point? Maybe the paranoid guy who thinks Russell Norman (the Australian who is the Greens organiser) is actually an American plant is right? Maybe he attached himself to Sue Bradford because, as my contact put it, "with all the medication her brains are just fried"? Maybe they have allowed themselves to be nobbled from the inside? - but Nandor is hopeless and is responsible for Auckland's poor result for them so I doubt that the conspiracy holds too much water. The Greens have a lot of goodwill in the electorate and it wasn't the National Party cultists who spoilt their vote - it was that they had a bad campaign, did not have enough fire-in-the-belly to mark out their turf and are infuriatingly inept.

    Their policy "triumphs" and concessions from Labour are risible baubles. Dr Cullen allows each support party an allowance to create a toothless or meddling little bureaucracy (Families Commission etc.) that costs a max. of $10m a year each to run - that's the deal they have accepted in the past and they get even less this time around. The Govt. surplus is around $3,000,000,000.00 this year and all they will ever get while they have no balls is something insignificant: 0.3% of the surplus! And this to keep them in Government! Laughable. Could they possibly sell themselves any shorter? And when they act like victims in the last two terms they act all surprised and disappointed when they are treated like victims again.

    "He still loves me, I have to go back, I need him, he won't do it again..." - people don't want to hear that shit anymore, people are sick of it, people will not vote for self-made victims whose modus operandi is to prostitute themselves, willingly, to a bully. A lesson in bully/victim theory for the children of the Greens: Labour behaves like a bully because the Greens behave like a victim. A bully cannot exist if you stand up to them. Two terms of being a victim encourages and incites the bully to greater excesses. Maybe females - the majority of the caucus - can't comprehend that they are in a victim trap of their own making?

    And I've thought this for a while now so I might as well state it here: Would a party leader who had seen their chance at achieving their life goal slip away after so much sacrifice and whose expectations were dashed have the necessary will to live in a health crisis?

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Flush the snot: start with Anderton

    "It's called a 'computer,' Mr Anderton"

    I heard that fuck-knuckle Anderton guffawing like a half-baked fool in parliament the other day when he attempted to ridicule the idea that the didymo infestation should be combated by flushing the effected rivers. He cackled that the people proposing this didn't understand that it would kill everything else in the river too. God that man is a cock - an idiotic dinosaur and apologist for every bureaucratic failing without the intelligence to grasp the big picture let alone the detail. His continued presence in the Clark Ministry at the ridiculously high ranking of No. 3 is a gauge of it's collective ineptitude.

    NZH today:
    All of the South Island has been declared a "controlled area" for the invasive algae didymo, which is also known as rock snot. Travellers and freight companies crossing Cook Strait from the south must clean any items that have been in lakes or rivers... in effect the biosecurity agency has given up on the idea of "isolating" infested rivers.

    Let's call it THE ANDERTON PLAN since he supports it (as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Biosecurity etc.) this involves conceeding/sacrificing the entire South Island to this pest weed. Flushing the infected rivers (with some sort of toxin plus a ground sweep) is going to be the only way to get rid of the stuff. The bureaucracy's half-arsed non-plan is not to eradicate (flush) but to protect it so it will eventually take over the entire South Island. In the same way they fucked up the Apple Moth eradication in Auckland because they put a useless woman in charge, so this containment idea will similarly be a disaster. And there is Anderton, Biosecurity Minister, laughing at any idea to get rid of it.

    Didymo stuffs up rivers completely. It got into NZ somehow. The Govt. doesn't know and doesn't care how it got in and how to stop it. So while they are "controlling" the South Island it could well get in from overseas in the North Island - I have heard absolutely nothing about what they are doing to prevent that.

    Flushing is the only thing that will work. If we do it now then we can eliminate it while it is in only a few rivers. No more didymo. A South Island river fisherman friend of mine concurs. We can re-stock the affected rivers, but leaving them with didymo is to leave them dead. But the Govt. will squander this opportunity and let it spread and in effect protect it. Ruination courtesy of Jim Anderton. And we thought Marion Hobbs was useless. What a frightful legacy he will leave - wanting to destroy private property rights by having the public wander down land next to rivers and simultaneously ensuring that those waterways are infected with a virulent weed that means no one will want to do that anyway. Typical, classic Anderton: everyone loses.

    Are we live?

    The next post with this logo:

    will be on Sunday. It will be an invitation to listen to the talkback radio programme I co-host with my occassional guest blogger, Mr Bradbury on the Radio Live network (sometimes it is simulcast at night on Pacific but I'm unsure if that applies to us). It will also list the sorts of topics we hope to canvass on the 10pm-1am Sunday night slot where we review the week. The comments section of the post will be a point for those unwilling or unable to telephone us to leave us their thoughts (or fight each other... whatever). Though I doubt too many people would be up at that hour on their computer and not be exclusively looking at pornography we will check the comments during the show.

    I will henceforth refrain from publicly attacking people in personal terms that have the shows immediately before and after to avoid any social discomforture on my part. Lucky for the angelic, smooth-talking, veteran icon, Ewing Stevens - all those unfounded defamatory accusations will just have to wait.

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Sione's Wedding

    At the preview for "Sione's Wedding" this morning but can't really say anything as it's embargoed. Release date: March. My impressions however could be put as favourable - although as a former Glenfield Community Board member great umbrage could have been taken on my part on behalf of those ex-constituents. G-Field, represent. Very funny. Seeing as how a majority of the movie was filmed within 1km of where I live in Grey Lynn I'm surprised I didn't run into a film unit at some point.

    But I can talk about the cinema I guess. Village Queen St level 4 "Gold Class" cinema.

    It is opening tomorrow to the public at ticket prices about $25 weekdays, $35 weekends/nights according to the usherette with a great French(?) accent. Hmmm, what was I saying .p9j99jsnx [0 uhh yeah right. I think it was French. Anyway, I thought the Lido (in Epsom) was the classiest in Auckland until I hit Lay-z-boy city. Very comfortable, very adjustable, very big, very suede. Every seat's a winner. Highly recommended.

    Highest interest rate in developed world just got higher

    The RBNZ has just raised their key interest rate this morning in another desperate bid to out-flank inflation. Enough has been said by me about the difficulties of our giant current account deficit and the plight of our exporters with our high dollar built on the back of our reserve bank's high interest rates. The bank has just issued it's statement:

    The Official Cash Rate (OCR) will increase by 25 basis points to 7.25 per cent.

    ...We remain concerned about the tightness of resources and the persistence of inflation pressures.... The main driver of the strong demand is household spending, linked to a still-buoyant housing market. Increasing government spending and continued strong business investment are also boosting total demand. The resulting excess demand, reflected in a growing current account deficit, is continuing to fuel inflation.

    Excluding one-off oil price effects, inflation has been trending upwards. Furthermore, while headline inflation is expected to return below the upper end of our target band by mid-2006, it is projected to remain high throughout the projection period. In addition, there is a risk that inflation could track higher. Mortgage credit growth and house prices have held up longer than anticipated; we are forecasting these to slow markedly in 2006, but continued strength remains a risk. The current high rates of increase in labour and other business costs present a further risk, particularly if inflation expectations become locked in at current high levels.

    The main downside risk to our projections is the prospect of a faster-than-expected correction in domestic demand, leading to a harder landing for the economy and a more rapid easing of inflation pressures...

    ...Whether further tightening is needed will depend on the extent to which housing and demand pressures show signs of moderating over the months ahead. However, we do not yet see any prospect of a policy easing in the foreseeable future.

    I drew attention some months ago to a Treasury report that has warned the government in rather dramatic language about a sudden and market-led currency devaluation. I have hypothesised about what could trigger it. Since most of the demand comes from speculators/"investors" then lowering the official cash rate would achieve that by reducing the yield on the dollar and increasing the risk of inflation (by encouraging housing spend). Both things would dissuade overseas investors in our dollar. But because controlling inflation is the primary objective (as it should be) Governor Bollard is very much restricted in doing anything than hiking the rates up. I, and others, have been recommending recently the Governor use other powers he has (such as increasing the amount of funds trading banks must keep in the RBNZ) to contract the ability of banks to lend to the housing market (amongst others) - Dr Cullen has also called on an investigation of these issues. But it all seems rather far away.

    Another possible trigger to a loss of confidence in our dollar to provide the same "safe" returns as now (and we are very high at US0.71c and €0.60 at the moment) is a down grade in our credit rating with one of the big agencies rating sovereign debt. And what are they now speculating about?

    The increase comes as international ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned that if New Zealand's current account deficit increased much further, the country's international credit rating was at risk. [NZH]

    So that trigger looms large now. If Bollard said he expected inflation to be at more than the current 3.4% in the next two quarters would that add pressure enough to precipitate a fall? Along with a credit rating down-grade?

    The point in sharing all of this is that I believe, as most economists, businessmen and people do that the amount of money this country collectively owes the rest of the world is becoming increasingly difficult to service by this country and that we are continuing to borrow money from the rest of the world, not to invest in growth industries and productive capital and infrastructure, but on over-valued speculative property and plasma screen TVs. This is a bad situation, and unsustainable... surely?

    I think our Reserve Bank was one of the first (if not the first) to design a monetary system that puts a low inflation target as the key reason for the bank's existence and has developed an inter-bank cash rate as the mechanism to do it. Other central banks have followed our lead. So we are a harbinger of things to come for the other banks in some ways - the UK followed us and now the Bank of England has higher than acceptable inflation too. With our high immigration, housing demand and interest rates we will be a case study of sorts.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Pope's Balls

    The Government's No. 14, Hon. David Benson-Pope, the Minister for Social Development and Employment, and Minister for the Environment has had a police report on his antics as a teacher released. He will face questions on this, no doubt, in today's session of parliament at 2pm. The police think they have enough to get charges of disciplinary abuse of former students to court but for the passing of time. I think here that the time thing is arbitrary and irrelevant, or at least should be: it is the victims' unwillingness to press charges that counts. That shows that they have, in some way, dissmissed a penalty, declined their vengence, if not forgiven him.

    When Benson-Pope continues to deny what could very well be a provable fact in court it invites people to speculate that he is a liar - a petty liar. It invites people to think he has no grace and no honour, that he is a snivelling dispicable wretch. With that mad, schitzophrenic/personality disorder facial twitch - you know that crazed tic he has - and that Dad's Army/Col. Blimp appearance the man is a slightly deranged manic.

    Remember it was his fronting of an anti-bullying campaign that sent his victims over the edge - that was just too much hypocrisy to stomach. For an ex-teacher who volunteered to physically discipline all students at his school, who enjoyed demeaning students to lecture everyone about bullying! Too much.

    Through the course of time things in the minds of the victims and witnesses will be blurred or seen in a different context - the police would say as much. So from the evidence and recollections here is what I think: It may have actually been in a detention class that the tennis ball incident occured and the other incident: the boy probably did get smacked in the face by Benson-Pope who did apologise when he saw the blood. At the time he would have been disciplined by school authorities had the parents of these children reported it and/or their parents been on the Board of Governors.

    Teachers like Benson-Pope who actually volunteer to bash kids are fundamentally sick. No normal human being would do that. Why do you think Labour like him so much? He's a petty bully. He's been used to bossing children around and being the smartest person in the room only because everyone else is 15. He's perfect Labour fodder - and National for that matter (Gerry Brownlee). He is one of the bad guys.

    If the kids he humiliated and punished were girls Helen Clark would of sent him down the road a long time ago. Dover Samuels official reason for being chucked out was because of the "power imbalance" the PM saw when a man deals with a younger female, but when abuse and power imbalances are between males she does not care about it. If the person having a ball stuffed in their mouth and their hands taped to the desk like a bound gimp and humiliated and disgraced in front of the class by Benson-Pope had a vagina Mr Benson-Pope would have been demoted just as quickly as Samuels. But because the victims of the gimp incident were males he gets off.

    Similarly the Waiouru Army cadet abuse report that came out last week concerned males only. So a right-wing, nut-job The Hon. David "Nigger-in-a-wood-pile"Morris is sent in to give a white-wash reoport. Compare that to any action the government would have taken if the victims (and the Waiouru report concerns 6 deaths! including someone shot in the head) were females. Would the PM put in a judge like Morris who said in a rape trial: that if every man stopped at the first time he heard "no" it would be a very unexciting world. Would she have done that? And yet sexual abuse allegations are part and parcel of this investigation and she appoints him?! If it they had vaginas they woould not have been treated with this sort of contempt.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Credibility divide

    The Stuff site is quite useless really. So I can't link to the useless editorial of the useless Editor of Fairfax's useless Sunday Star-Times. I say useless because as I have observed, generally speaking, female editors tend to see the news in very different terms to males. Gossipy, celebrity-centred and petty is how the SST appears. The contention here is that those traits are female and the female editor is responsible for that focus.

    I have said elsewhere (and to some measure of hostility) that females in the press can tend also to be fixated on themselves when composing interviews and also blasé with technical details to the point of gross inaccuracy - ironic considering the often pedantic attention paid to irrelevant aspects of some topics. Men no doubt have their faults too, but the matter in hand does not relate to them. I cite the recent case below as but one example of many to illustrate my unfashionable mysogynistic fixation concern for press standards.

    In yesterday's SST editorial on page A2, "Death Divide," Brett wrote, under her signature, about the execution in Singapore of an Australian drug smuggler. Three times in that very cursory article she referred to Lee Kuan Yew:

    ...and placed Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew under renewed pressure...
    ...many Australians applaud the tough minded approach adopted by Lee Kuan Yew ...
    Perhaps Van's legacy will be to give the brave Singaporeans lobbying Lee Kuan Yew a stronger platform for Reform.
    Cate Honoré Brett

    Newsflash, Cate, Lee Kuan Yew retired as Prime Minister 15 years ago! His son, Lee Hsien Loong became PM last year and has been fronting the TV coverage over this issue to boot. Maybe she's confused; maybe she can't tell them apart? Is she senile? Maybe she's saying that people should by-pass the PM and go to the old PM?

    To get it wrong three times is just so shoddy. Would a Singapore newspaper in four paragraphs refer to Lange as the NZ PM three times? I think not. And do you think Brett could care less about that sort of inaccuracy? I doubt she would give it a second thought. After reading that effort of hers you have to wonder what other casual mistakes are being routinely made at the SST. People who are intelligent and know their own limitations, who do not make lazy assumptions, who admit they are wrong and correct their faults tend not to make errors in the nature of the SST Editor. She sets the tone and credibility for the whole newspaper and like any leader sets an example for everyone under her. Oh dear.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Bug out

    So Mr Bush has made another declaration of the forced love of the USA for Iraq.

    Bush Unveils 'Strategy For Victory' in Iraq
    An emotional President Bush this morning asserted that U.S. tactics "are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy." –Daniela Deane 12:18 p.m. ET
    [Washington Post]

    Capitol Hill is abuzz with open speculation as to an evacuation/disengagement timetable. Pressure is coming from many sides. The Bush Administration denies timetables and goes on about "not cutting and running" so many times you know they are lying. The fact is they cannot stay in a state of war in Iraq permanently and therefore a date to cease US military action is a certainty. The next logical step is for Bush (and remember his stock line in the 2000 election debates to all questions about war: "You gotta have an exit strategy") is for his Administration to reveal the plan called "Exit strategy" not "Plan for Victory" - because that implies a certain state of subjection that goes beyond face-saving. It will happen anyway and everyone knows it.

    The Americans have no plans to expend major resources (construction/civil and military) on Iraq beyond the end of 2006. The elections under the new Iraqi constitution are due Dec 15 and it will be very soon after that date that they will cobble together the confirmation of what will have happened throughout 2006 - a staged American military reduction and withdrawal from permanent patrols and street presence. They will leave a rump force of approx. 50,000 in their "Baghdad Embassy" and bases around Iraq to be called out only in short raids. The current network of private mercenaries of commercial operations and US supported local militia/mercenaries will be strengthened. But how long will that situation last?

    In South Vietnam the disengagement of the US troops came in early 1973 (?) and by April 1975 the last chopper left their Saigon embassy amidst the total collapse of the US-backed regime. If that repeats and Dec 2006 is the disengagement date then we are looking at 2008 for a regime change and total US exit - but it all hangs on who the government of Iraq represents.

    Will it represent a stacked election of US funded parties and Kurdish Nationalists? Will it represent the militant Sunnis? How long before the new parliament demands the US leaves? - or stays! Will the US set up a puppet regime run by Saddam in the Sunni Province as the only way to keep order?

    If the Americans have the intelligence to hand the mess all over to the UN (who will co-opt the Arab League) then it might work - but the US won't stomach that. So in the absence of anyone else joining them they will be left with the animal of their own making. As long as the US have enough military to keep the oil flowing and enforce their contracts then the terrorist cesspool they have made is just something they will have to accept.