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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cunliffe's 4th 'True Labour' speech - why isn't he the Finance Spokesperson?

Cunliffe is once again pushing the envelope with his latest 'true labour' speech, here's the flavor...

Let's have a quick recap of history. As a result of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the New Zealand Labour Party – like its counterparts around the world – legislated to rein in speculation, to protect jobs and to protect human rights.

Most of New Zealand's great economic assets, such as our farms, our roads and our forests, grew and prospered as a direct result of these policies. As our nation grew more prosperous, the wealth was widely shared. No children needed to starve in the New Zealand I grew up in.

However, the 1980s and '90s saw the rise of a philosophy developed by the rich, for the rich. It was called Neo-Liberalism.

Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that greed is good, that we’re all locked in an economic life-and-death-struggle with each other. Neo-Liberalism says that compassion is for suckers. Neo-Liberalism says that if the world is going to the dogs, it might as well be the top dogs. Indeed, to borrow from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, not only is greed good, “it’s legal.”

When the British Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher was asked about the effects that her Neo-liberal policies would have on society, she replied:

“There is no such thing as society… There are individual men and women.”

The amazing thing about the Neo-Liberals is their wilful blindness to how badly their ideas have failed. Not just once, but repeatedly. Neo-Liberal policies directly caused two of the largest financial crashes in history. Did they apologise? No way. Like some mad doctor, when the first dose of medicine didn’t work, they wanted to double the dose.

And so, the Neo-Liberal bandwagon rolls on. Right here in New Zealand, the National Party is still trotting out the same discredited economic policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

...Cunliffe seems to be one of the few voices brave enough in Labour to actually challenge the economic hegemonic structure of neo-liberalism and find it failing us utterly.

With 270 000 children in poverty, a 6.8% official unemployment rate and a real underemployed rate in double digits, our historically high inequality won't be honestly faced if we don't challenge the Washington consensus that none of us consented to.

This recession is a unique crisis of capitalism, it isn't some normal bust and boom cycle, what the banking corporates were allowed to do by building these weapons of mass financial destruction has compromised democratic states in a way communism, fascism and terrorism never could.

We need political leaders with the vision to see how momentous these events are and how they challenge every philosophical foundation of free market dogma.

Why isn't Cunliffe the finance spokesperson?


Shearer on The Nation review

The Nation: TV3

One thing you can say about Shearer's interview on The Nation in the weekend, is that he is getting much better and manages only a few cringe worthy moments per interview. His previous media appearances, let's be frank, have been woeful, but this weekend he didn't hemorrhage all over the screen.

On the left we must be thankful for small mercies these days.

I was left wondering 'if only John Hartevelt was this brave when asking questions of Joyce' during this weeks show, but the moment of joy has to go to Alex Tarrant who fed Shearer Cunliffe's words and Shearer walked into it by denying those words. It's worth watching the entire thing just to see the look on Tarrent's face while Shearer's answer goes deeper and deeper.

Hey I said Shearer's performance had gotten better, but from the point he was starting, staying clothed during the interview is a win.

Like I said, the left have to be thankful for tiny miracles. Like Kim Dotcom.

David said he didn't bother reading the blog, and unintentionally showed up part of his problem. Because he has come to the leadership so fast, soooooooo fast, he has no institutional knowledge. He should be reading the bloggers, he should be reading Russell Brown, Keith Ng, Julie Fairey, Gordon Campbell, Chris Trotter, The Jackel, Frank Macskasy, Robert Winter, Ideologically impure, Queen of Thorns, Nicole Skews, Morgan Godfrey, Gareth Renowden and Richard Boock.

He should be reading Idiot/Savant, one of the best left wing bloggers on the block.

How about The Standard? Again, this is the largest left wing blog in the country. Shearer's NOT reading them? The life pulse of the left activist movement and the leader of the Labour Party isn't reading them?

Speaks volumes.

The issue of the polls came up. The problem is that Labour is going up while Shearer's personal popularity slips, the last thing a leader wants is the perception that the Party is going up despite the leader.

Shearer has gained the confidence now to answer the questions by stating the message, this helps build on the argument Labour are making to those voters now listening but there's a difference between agreeing with an idea and believing it.

Interesting piece about the future of ACT. The Nation do more 'how is the health of the right going' than any other news agency in the OECD. The reason why ACT are dying, but this wasn't really touched upon, is of course because their entire ideological assumptions and justifications for the free market have blown out spectacularly with the financial meltdown.

Why would anyone join the flat earth society after the first round the world trip?


Friday, September 28, 2012

No one believes you John Key - The GCSB knew spying on Dotcom was illegal

Oh pa-leeeeeeeese. Are we honestly going to believe this 'apology' by John Key? How come yesterday Government sources are saying that the Government weren't too worried by what was going to be revealed and hours later it's all 'I'm sorry'?

Does any NZer honestly believe that the GCSB didn't know that Kim Dotcom was a NZ resident? Of course they knew, the paper work shown to date are simply the excuses and the white wash hurriedly put together to hand over to an angry public.

The real questions here are who originally asked the GCSB to start spying on Dotcom and when did the surveillance start?

This entire case against Dotcom has been instigated by the Americans and corporate Hollywood, do anyone of us believe that they wouldn't just tell the GCSB to spy on Dotcom? The NSA consider the GCSB an extension to their intelligence department through the echelon network they run out of the spy base in Waihopai,

Is Key in control of the intelligence apparatus of our country?

Did the GCSB start spying on Dotcom because they were asked by the Americans?

Did the GCSB pass anything along to the NSA?

How could the GCSB meet with Key 15 times and not mention to him once the largest FBI operation in our country's history on our soil in his electorate?

This isn't a train wreck. It's a train wreck that's crashed into a kindergarden while showering a retirement village in glass.

No one can believe the GCSB didn't know spying on Dotcom was illegal. This simply isn't good enough and simply apologizing for getting caught isn't a response worthy of the position of Prime Minister.

Our intelligence community has just been caught out illegally spying on a resident for the American's all under the very nose of the PM. 'Sorry' doesn't cut the mustard.

Will this desire by our Police force and intelligence agencies to throw NZ law aside for American interests damage Murray McCully's attempt at getting NZ a chair at the UN?

Can NZ seriously claim to be independent after this fiasco?


Citizen A: Kim Dotcom/GCSB special with Chris Trotter & Phoebe Fletcher

Citizen A: Kim Dotcom/GCSB special with Chris Trotter & Phoebe Fletcher

Issue 1: How does the GCSB miss a $500 000 firework display by the person they are supposedly spying on? How incompetent can the case against Kim Dotcom get?

Issue 2: Why do so many NZers blame the parents for child poverty?

and Issue 3: 600 job losses in a week equals 600 families without an income - when does unemployment start impacting politically?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why some NZers believe child poverty is the parents fault

Thanks to Chris Trotter and his must read blog on why so many NZers bewilderingly think 'blame the parents' is a social policy when dealing with child poverty.

I have to admit to being astounded that now the grim reality of poverty in NZ is on display, that the two responses seem to be denial, as expressed by the NZ Herald in their attack on John Campbell's work on highlighting child poverty, or 'blame the parents' crap that just seems heartless and ignorant at the same time.

Chris explains that the gap between the haves and the have nots in NZ is now so extreme that the haves simply can't comprehend the reality of poverty for the have nots. We seem to have mistaken a small socially flat country for an egalitarian one, with inequality at its historically highest ever, this denial isn't sustainable for our country.

When I listen to the well to do and nicely heeled in their leafy suburbs rant about beneficiaries and the 'choices' they seem to have made, I think of the Herman Melville quote...

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well housed, well warmed and well fed."

My guess is that the NZers who say 'blame the parents' over Child Poverty are the same people who will be utterly unaware how the benefits were decided by Ruth Richardson during the 'Mother of all budgets' welfare cuts. I'm certain that if those NZers knew that benefits were set beneath the daily nutritional needs so that beneficiaries were hungry on purpose as a disincentive to be on welfare in the first place, their misplaced 'blame the parents' indignation would evaporate.

That Labour did nothing to reverse that National Party cruelty for 9 years is an eternal shame for the left.

We need to feed these kids, and we need to feed them now. When Serco is telling the London Stock Exchange that they will make $29m in revenue from their private prisons, I simply won't accept we can't find the money to feed our hungriest kids. Jesus wept, it's costing us millions to stay in this pointless Afghanistan War, we've got the money, we just need the political will.

Blaming the parents for hungry children might make you feel more self-rightous NZ, but it doesn't deal with the reality that poverty brings. It's time many NZers got over themselves, peered beyond their gated community thinking and started supporting the feeding the kids movement.

I don't care who is to blame when we can be the solution. Let's feed our hungry kids. Now.


National Party's response to Solid Energy job cuts: Crooked lies by crooked men

Joyce criticised for comments on mining court action
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is being criticised for encouraging opponents to a new mine on the West Coast to give up their court action.

He's asked those against the proposed mine on the Denniston Plateau to end their court action, in light of job losses at nearby Spring Creek Mine.

West Coast Environment Network spokeswoman Lynley Hargreaves says it's not the minister's place to say.

"It's actually also deeply inappropriate for a Minister to intervene in a case that's before the court."

You've got to give Joyce an A+ for best spin of the week. Trying to claim that environmentalists should drop their complaints to opening a new mine on the environmentally important Denniston Plateau because miners need jobs in the wake of the massive Solid Energy cuts, are some of the most disingenuous crooked words spoken over mining.

1: Why is the Minister getting involved in a case currently in front of the Court?

2: The Denniston Plateau is an hour and a half away from Spring Mine, it's not just down the road and Joyce's constant use of 'nearby' to describe the distance is as credible as Key's position on the GCSB.

and finally 3: The job cuts at Solid Energy wouldn't be occurring if Solid Energy wasn't preparing itself for sale. Yes coal stocks are huge in China and that is driving prices down, but a Government can look to the long term price cycles of coal and plan to that. Shareholders wanting a return in the next quarter won't give a damn.

For Joyce to attack environmentalists for job losses his Government's policies are causing are crooked words from crooked men.

NZ deserves better from it's political leadership.


Judith Collins is trying to build a prison (for you and me to live in)

"Prison Song" - System Of A Down
They're trying to build a prison
Following the rights movement
You clamped on with your iron fists
Drugs became conveniently
Available for all the kids
I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
Right here in hollywood
(nearly 2 million americans are
incarcerated in the prison system
prison system of the US)

Judith is trying to build a prison, a glorious private incarceration empire that will somehow magically make all the problems of imprisoning more and more NZers just disappear. SERCO told the London Stock Exchange this month that they would be making $29 million each year from their private prison operations in NZ, that's on top of the cost of building the $900m prison and by 2014 NZ will have the highest proportion of prisoners in private prisons than any other county in the world.

They're trying to build a prison
(for you and me to live in)
Another prison system
(for you and me to live in)
Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
you don't even flinch
all our taxes paying for your wars
against the new non-rich
Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
you don't even flinch
all our taxes paying for your wars
against the new non-rich
I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
right here in hollywood
The percentage of americans in the prison system
prison system, has doubled since 1985
They're trying to build a prison

How is Judith ensuring that Serco will be making their $29m per year? We will pay Serco for 960 beds for 25 years even if they are not full, that means the bloody contract forces Government to find people to put in the prison.

All research and successful drug policy show
that treatment should be increased
And law enforcement decreased
While abolishing mandatory minimun sentences
Utilising drugs to pay for secret wars around the world
drugs are now your global policy now you police the globe
I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
right here in hollywood
Drug money is used to rig elections
and train brutal corporate sponsored dictators
around the world
They're trying to build a prison
(for you and me to live in)
Another prison system
(for you and me to live in)
For you and I, for you and I, for you and I
For you and I
They're trying to build a prison

...and let's not forget the constant tub thump of 'longer harder sentences'.

Prisoners will have to earn chance at parole
Serious offenders will have to jump through a series of hoops to show they deserve a parole hearing under a law change which aims to reduce the stress of annual hearings for victims.

...ahh yes. they good old 'we will deny parole' game. The problem is that parole is the only instrument the state has when someone is in Prison to force moderation of a prisoners behavior. When the service was a public service Parole was important, now it's becoming private, parole has to be denied at every corner because the longer the prisoner is in prison, the more money they make.

Private prison managers get to appoint the internal adjudicators who tour prisons meting out prison justice to prisoners who break rules. These breaches are presented to the Parole Board and are considered when judging if a prisoner should gain parole. A savvy Manager will 'do an ACC' and appoint hanging adjudicators who always find against a prisoner so that when the parole board meet there is no way that parole will be granted.

So we will have longer times between parole hearings within a system open for abuse by the private prisons.

Using the sensible sentencing trust to cheerlead from the sidelines hides the fact that the only ones really rubbing their hands with glee over parole changes are Serco.

Judith is building a prison nation.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And you thought 'National Standards' were ropey

 The Whale has been doing some spouting about this analysis:
I am proud that I am easier to read than other bloggers. But very upset to lose to Pinko in these ratings and ask for a recount.

Pete (the analyst) says:
There seems to be a correlation between the level of comprehension required to understand a post and where the author sits on the political spectrum. It should be remembered, though, that simplicity is not necessarily a vice. Especially when trying to communicate with a large community and trying to persuade them to a particular point of view. Hemmingway, for example, liked short bold sentences.

Started 'The Old Man and the Sea'. Found it relentlessly overworked. Trying way too hard. Concise, but cold, empty. Couldn't read beyond a few pages. Short sentences? Shite.
Tumeke blog posts have been assessed at a reading grade level of 12.6 (whatever that means) and around about the mid-point for reading ease.

Mr Bradbury's legendary stream-of-conciousness, fifty line, single sentence paragraphs on the blog would have completely munted those stats. I'm guessing it wasn't one of those days. I find them easy to read though - but that's me.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Whaleoil and Kiwiblog find themselves in the special class/remedial learners end of the spectrum. Indeed :)

They shoot horses don't they

The NZ Super Fund should have bought the National Bank when Lloyds wanted to sell. It was probably too early in the piece for the Super Fund to make that sort of bid so the opportunity was lost to acquire a cornerstone, bread and butter, bricks and mortar, ticket clipping, chunk of the country's financial infrastructure. Now we hear the ANZ are going to wipe it out entirely.  The frollicking black horse is destined for the glue factory.
Same guys who had to put down Spot when Telecom got sick of him.

Industry sources say the decision to rebrand all National Bank branches as ANZ will be made public at staff meetings this afternoon. ANZ National claims nearly half the population is a customer.
It appears unlikely that there will be large job losses immediately among the combined workforce of about 9000.
Instead, insiders expect a gradual head-count reduction in the next couple of years, largely through attrition, as surplus branches are closed.
“It will be the start of a fairly significant reduction in staff numbers over a period,” an insider said.
ANZ has maintained that it will retain the country's biggest branch network, but some of its more than 310 branches would be merged where they were close together.
ANZ bought the National Bank from Lloyds TSB bank in 2003 for $6.9 billion in the biggest deal in New Zealand's corporate history at the time.
Abandoning the National Bank brand could result in Australian parent ANZ writing off up to $3.5 billion in goodwill and reducing its capital requirement, banking expert David Tripe says.

Does this mean the wanky, patronising, upper-middle class private school voice-overs of Craig Parker, accompanied by the soaring classical strings of Europhilia, are over? Hmmm, so not all bad news after all.

Seeing as how the ANZ have already merged parts of the National Bank operation into the parent, and considering it must have had (or did not need) Commerce Commission approval, there shouldn't be any noticeable anti-competitive implications. Well, it couldn't be any more uncompetitive could it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Union Report with Dr Bill Rosenberg and NZNOs Hilary Graham-Smith

The Union Report with Dr Bill Rosenberg and NZNOs Hilary Graham-Smith

Issue 1: .6% GDP with 6.8% unemployment rate, how does the economy provide the momentum to create growth and secure jobs?

Issue 2: Are safe staffing and healthy workplaces being ignored for cost cutting?

and Issue 3: Does the real cost of private prisons make a mockery of the public private model?

The Union Report screens 8pm Monday Triangle TV - the home of original public broadcasting

Facebook/TheUnionReport Twitter/CitizenBomber

4 Kim Dotcom questions: How could the GCSB miss a half million dollar fireworks display?

This case is a train wreck.

Illegal search warrants, illegally sending Kim Dotcom's property to the bloody American's, the deep suspicion that this whole exercise is one giant symbolic territorial pissing game for the Yanks to show the Chinese that NZ is 'theirs' and in doing so, expand American jurisdiction into the on-line cyber world.

Train wreck is putting it politely, but now with yesterdays revelations that the GCSB were illegally spying on Kim Dotcom? This became a Train wreck that crashed into a kindergarden while showering a retirement village in glass.

Questions that need answering:
1: How does an intelligence service tracking Kim Dotcom miss him becoming a resident? He spent $500k on fireworks to celebrate! Are they blind?
The line of defense right now is that the Police misinformed the GCSB of Kim's residency status. This defense raises it's own questions like, 'how on earth could an intelligence service not notice he had become a resident' - it's not like Kim Dotcom was backward in coming forward over Immigration granting him and his family residency, he spent half a million dollars on a fireworks display. How does the GCSB miss that?

2: Why wasn't the Prime Minister kept in the loop?
Let's get this straight, the GCSB , who answer directly to the Prime Minister didn't inform him that they were illegally spying on a domestic target who also happens to live in the Prime Ministers electorate???

If illegally spying on a domestic target while planning a massive FBI action in NZ doesn't require Ministerial sign off, what does? Invading Mars?

Campbell Live has done an incredible piece looking at how everyone other than Key seemed to be aware of who Kim was.

3: Who actually asked the GCSB to spy on Kim Dotcom?
The quick spin will be that it was the Police who misinformed the GCSB of Kim's residency status but a far bigger question is who asked the GCSB to spy in the first place? This spying would have occurred from the spy base connected to the US echelon security system, was it the US who ordered the spying? Seeing as this entire case seems to have been driven by the American's, is it that much of a stretch that they told the GCSB whom they believe they run anyway to start bugging Kim?

4: What did our Governor-General know?
This is the crunch question. The official story is that the decision to spy on Kim Dotcom was made under Sir Bruce Ferguson's watch, not the new Governor-General Jerry Mateparae, but that timeline makes things difficult.

Mateparae replaced Ferguson on 7th February 2011 but Kim Dotcom's residency issue occurred in December 2011 2010 meaning the spying on Dotcom was occurring during Mateparae's time as the GCSB boss. While Mateparae may not have ordered the spying, he must have been aware it was occurring.

The mainstream media must not allow Key off the hook on this one, we have laws reigning in the power of state surveillance for the safety of us all.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Was our new Governor-General involved in authorizing illegal spying of Kim Dotcom?

Just when you didn't think for one second the Kim Dotcom case could become any more grotesque and warped, breaking news this morning turns the whole case on its head again.

One would have thought our Police becoming puppets for the FBI and Corporate Hollywood was bad enough, one would have thought the donations scandal that caught John Banks out lying would be bad enough, one would have thought the illegal search warrants could never be topped.

One would have thought wrong, because all that seems to pale into the background as the shocking revelation today that the GCSB, our Government's spy network, illegally spied on Kim Dotcom. Why the hell are the GCSB targeting domestic targets? They are supposed to be spying on external threats.

This has become a case of big brother spying on bigger brother.

The immediate question now we know the GCSB illegally spied on Kim Dotcom is, was our new Governor-General involved in authorizing illegal spying of Kim Dotcom?

Allowing our former head of the military to become our chief spook and then onto the highest ranked representative position of our political system always carried risks, having the GG involved in covert illegal spying tactics is one of those risks.

He was the Director of the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau from 7 February 2011 until 1 July 2011 - was he involved in this? Kim Dotcom months later was blowing up $500 000 worth of fireworks celebrating Immigrations decision to allow him to be a permanent resident so he was here and known to officials and certainly over laps Jerry Mateparae's time in the role.

We can not have a Governor-General who has green lighted illegal abuse of spying powers, even if the decision was made after Mateparae's time, whoever allowed this must be sacked.

This is a disgusting abuse of power by the state in a legal case that gets more bizarre and farcical by the month. At the very least we owe Kim Dotcom an apology and a cessation of this trial.

Sleepy Hobbits need to shhhh, because our big brother friends at the GCSB are listening now. How very ugly.


Bending over backwards

There isn't anything the NZ government won't do to help our American friends, and vice versa. Why, only in the last week we've had:

Killing in the name of...
The United States Secretary of Defence has told Taliban fighters responsible for killing five New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan that US forces will take them out.
Leon Panetta is currently visiting New Zealand. He is the first Defence Secretary to visit in 30 years following the no-nuclear law.
He promised US troops would help in any retribution attack. “Whatever information we have that is credible, we will do whatever we have to do in cooperation with the forces of New Zealand to make sure they understand that nobody attacks our forces and gets away with it.”
The Government has sent SAS officers back to Afghanistan to track down those who killed New Zealand soldiers [...]. If they find them, US special forces will execute the attack.
Followed seamlessly by:

Occupying in the name of...
The United States would consider stationing troops on New Zealand soil if our Government asked for them as part of a burgeoning defence relationship, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta says.
Asked yesterday if troops could be stationed in New Zealand, Mr Panetta said that was up to New Zealand. But he suggested the US would be interested. "If New Zealand feels that that's something New Zealand would support or want, that's something I think that would be very helpful."

and now, today, we find out:

Spying in the name of...
Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority.

After being informed about the matter by the Director of the GCSB on September 17, the Prime Minister referred the Bureau’s actions to the Inspector-General, Hon Paul Neazor. The Inspector-General is an independent statutory officer with the power to enquire into any matter related to a government intelligence agency’s compliance with the law.

There is nothing the NZ government and agencies will not do for the Americans. No matter how petty or how unlawful. Obsequious, meet your new flatmates, Shame, Humiliation and Embarrassment.

A discussion on the Dotcom case is planned here for Wednesday (Thursday NZ time?)

When will the older generations of New Zealanders take off their war-issue rose-coloured spectacles and acknowledge the cold hard reality that the great battles of Midway and the Coral Sea that the US Navy fought to stop the Japanese advance were not fought by the Americans with New Zealand's interests at heart - or even at the periphery - they were fought by the Americans for America. If the US had intelligence to suggest that luring the Japs down to NZ would have caused over-stretch and a quicker defeat then the Yanks would have sacrificed this nation in a heartbeat.


No comparison

The Tory's education panacea brainchild, National Standards, have gone live. The league tables they say they didn't want have already been constructed and now exist in all their interactive glory. The words of warning from the publisher about the (un)reliability of the data and what it means indicates strongly that the entire exercise is a colossal waste of time and money.
Many people told us not to publish the information you see on this site.
They fought to stop us. Some sent us bills for the privilege of their school's data. Others buried the figures we asked for in complex matrices and pages of indecipherable bumph.

Many more gave up their school's National Standards data with a grave note of caution about the reliability and usefulness of it. We have not been deterred by the criticisms and the cautions, but neither were we unmoved by them.
Anyone who read the National Standards results as a proxy for quality would be quite foolish. We wouldn't do that and we don't suggest you do, either. For starters, they are not moderated, so one school's "well below" may be another's "at" or "above". There is just no way of knowing - yet - exactly how the standards have been applied across schools.

No moderation, incomplete data... what is the value here? As with the fraying edges of NCEA system where soft units are manipulated by corrupt school principals to boost their school's stats, the National Standards will just reward school authorities shrewd and devious enough to massage their figures. The table is set for anxious parents to make decisions.

For a quick test I looked up the primary schools where I used to live. They are all decile 10 - the wealthiest.  Devonport wasn't always like that, but I'm going back a few years.  (As an example my old school, Vauxhall, returns "no data" for Maori students - that would be because there isn't a single Maori attending; and Stanley Bay - my other old school - says "data omitted for privacy" meaning there may only be one or two Maori. Pasifika is nil for both schools and data omitted at Devonport Primary. UPDATE: No - there are a handful of non-Europeans listed under the individual school pages not in the main data set - see below.) Devonport is as white as an albino in a snow storm. There isn't going to be any deprevation related problems in this part of the Shore - you basically have to be a millionaire to live there. I compared them with some decile 1 schools Eastside.
Devonport Primary reported no kids left behind, at all. Zero. There are no losers at Devo. No-one is in the "well below" category in any of the three subject areas. According to themselves, let's not forget. Compare to Glenn Innes School where 47% were deemed Well Below in writing (the worst score I could find in this small group - and a shocking 60% of boys). Is this telling us anything we didn't already know?

Stanley Bay Primary:
Glenn Innes School:
There are only two Pacific Islanders at Stanley Bay and only two Europeans at GI. Schooling is subject to more racial segregation/concentration than neighbourhoods because of "white flight" where Pakeha parents will take their kids out of a school next door if there are too many brown faces and send them across town to a white school.  Stats like these are used to entrench this racially and socially stratified situation.
The differences between the two sets of schools are blindingly obvious - all the stats align to the  assumptions that wealth is the main determinant of educational outcomes. But so what if the stats are compiled at the discretion of the school? The rich ones have a reputation to uphold and an incentive to bend the numbers so we can never be sure of the real position.

Fairfax and the art of National Standards

Sigh - remember when National Standards were first raised and everyone (Tumeke included) immediately criticized them as a first step towards league tables and the Government denied that was their intent?

Yeah, well lo and behold, the tables are here and surprise, surprise the newspapers are leading the charge.

National standards tell you little of any value because young children learn at very different rates, it's like comparing apples & screwdrivers, that's why national standards are such crap. They are academically worthless because there are no conclusions to be drawn from rating primary school children's academic achievement when children learn at such different levels.

But Fairfax media don't give a flying rats arse about the fallacies of national standards, they know one truth and one truth only - education rankings sell newspapers faster than naked page 3 models. Metro Magazines biggest selling issue of the year is when they rank their top schools, the middle class neurotic fetish with education knows no limits and will drive parents into a feeding frenzy of 'choice' created by this false competition model.

From the point of view of Fairfax Media, it's a case of 'don't hate the player, hate the game'. They have to sell newspapers, if eroding confidence in the public education system is what's required to make the shareholders happy, erode the public education they will.

If parents don't want to be manipulated into succumbing to this pressure, they should simply ignore the medias attempt to whip up false comparisons for the purposes of selling newspapers.

If National Standards are incomplete - why release them? Since when was spreading public panic a legitimate communication strategy?


Dear NZ - don't let America open a military base here (The day the witch king of the Nazgul visited the Shire)

United States Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta touching down in NZ last week was like the witch king of the Nazgul visiting the Shire.

As Tumeke has been pointing out for some time, NZ is the new Pacific friction point in the new cold war between America & China.

How we play the meat in that sandwich is difficult. We have a new generation of Chinese-NZers who can build cultural bridge between us and our most important trading partner and we have America who is like an angry jealous drunk who is prone to roid rage episodes with hand guns in public.

We need to entertain more trade from China while feeling free to communicate our unease with their brutal human rights record and we need to keep America happy without enraging them.

Allowing a white navy visit from their Coastguard would be symbolic enough, but the US has bigger ideas than that, they want another US military base here to show China we're theirs.

They've managed this deal in Australia and they want it here. The Kim Dotcom case is an example of America trying to force their jurisdiction into our cyberspace, the Free Trade Deal is an attempt to enforce our economic subjection and ship visits are the military icing on the cake.

We should resist with all our might any new attempt to open up another US military base in NZ.

God defend NZ's independent foreign policy, because John Key sure as hell won't.


The poor don't really exist (there is no depression or poverty in nz)

The meme from the right is that the poverty in NZ is not real somehow, that it's not 'proper' poverty. This is a far better tactic than Paula Bennett's 'we don't bother to measure children in poverty' line as that makes her seem churlish and disingenuous in the extreme.

This new 'it's not real poverty' angle is why we are seeing the NZ Herald attack John Campbell over the weekend for his work on exposing child poverty and why we saw it pop up on failed right wing politician Rodney Hide's new far right column - also in the NZ Herald last weekend.

The commentators do a great job pulling Rodney Hide's argument to pieces in the comments section, pointing out that Rodney has played around with the figures and that a family with 4 children earning $600 per week is the definition of living in poverty, not the $1000 Rodney inflates to make his argument seem more palatable.

The meme is simple, real poverty doesn't exist in NZ and these whiney lefties are just trying to make us feel guilty. If you are poor it's your fault, porridge is cheap, go fuck yourself.

As far as the right seem to be concerned, sub-subsistence living is the most any citizen can expect from the state. So much for a social floor that starts at the ceiling and cuts everyone off who is beneath that.

Paula Bennett's extraordinary statement on Q+A over the weekend that she wouldn't be vetting all beneficiaries under these new social obligation disqualifications because she can't afford to do it, means that these powers will be used on any beneficiary stupid enough to come to the attention of the Ministry. Like the great lidless eye of Mordor, the Ministry's attention will become the new weapon of fear and alienate society's most vulnerable even further to the fringes of our community.

So who will be targeted by Bennett? Oh I think we all know who will get targeted, the exact same groups in society who get profiled by the Police. If you are brown you will be targeted. If you are young you will be targeted. If you are young and brown, you're screwed.

My guess is that those who don't believe there is real poverty in NZ are the same people who think climate change is a hoax. Let's not have these arseholes direct the debate on fighting poverty in our country.


Top 10 things that will happen now the recession has come to Countdown family

Shock, horror, the recession has come to the Countdown family adverts. Dad's been given the flick at work and minimum wage Mum has to pick up the extra financial stress by cutting the kids early childhood education program while shopping smarter. It all begs the question, what top 10 things will now happen to NZs favorite stereotypical marketing cliche?

Unemployed Countdown Dad gets bashed by Paula Bennett's welfare reforms after Government learns family have taken youngest child out of early childhood education.

Entire family packs up and moves to Sydney where Mum will earn 4 times what she was in NZ. Countdown children all end up working in a mine, Countdown Dad runs off with a stripper from the Gold Coast.

Adverts featuring mince as the main ingredient jumps 90%

Countdown opens MasterChef foodbank class.

Countdown son gets sacked due to lack of union coverage for workers.

Countdown Mum finds costs greater than the minimum wage can cover and starts turning discounted tricks as a part time prostitute.

Countdown Dad hurts his back working a part time job and finds the ACC investigation unit declines him claiming natural wear and tear.

Countdown launches its own Charter School employing graduates at 15 years of age with a Phd in Grocerology

Countdown Homebrands launch own condom range with support from Paula Bennett's beneficiary contraception plan.

Unemployed Countdown dad goes public with his complaints only to have Paula publicize all his private details.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

How much smug 'the Apocalypse is not around the corner' 1% wankery can Bob Jones generate?

Last week in the Herald, Sir Robert Jones called John Minto "a screaming skull." Bob was putting the boot into those in society who challenge us with their criticisms and protest. That Mr 1% should laugh at those amongst the 99% who refuse to accept the power dynamics within society that keep the poor in poverty and the rich in Hawaiian holiday homes and lap dances should surprise no one. Bob is after all one of the entrepreneurial pirate class old boys who manages to exhibit all the personal charm of a sadist on heat.

The collapse of unregulated casino capitalism has wounded the Washington Consensus and has lead us to having 270 000 kids in poverty with the highest levels of inequality ever. This is economic doomsdayist stuff to Bob, and someone who has benefitted as mush as Bob has from the neo-liberal hegemonic structure sure as hell won't want to hear a pop looming to his bubble.

Listening to one of the 1% mock those on the bottom and denigrate the conscientious objections of a civil rights activist like Minto is Nero fiddling while Rome burns stuff.

John Minto may well be a screaming skull, but at least he's not a smug rich arsehole like Sir Jones.


What will climate deniers do when man made pollution melts the ice caps?

What is the tipping point for climate deniers? I use climate deniers and not climate skeptics because climate skeptics give skepticism a bad name. As more evidence that the planet is rapidly warming due to our pollution keeps announcing itself by melting before our eyes...

Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Smallest Extent Ever Recorded
Sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its smallest extent ever recorded, smashing the previous record minimum and prompting warnings of accelerated climate change.

Satellite images show that the rapid summer melt has reduced the area of frozen sea to less than 3.5 million square kilometers this week—less than half the area typically occupied four decades ago.

Arctic sea ice cover has been shrinking since the 1970s when it averaged around 8 million square kilometers a year, but such a dramatic collapse in ice cover in one year is highly unusual.

A record low in 2007 of 4.17 million square kilometers was broken on August 27, 2012; further melting has since amounted to more than 500,000 square kilometers.

The record, which is based on a five-day average, is expected to be officially declared in the next few days by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. The NSIDC's data shows the sea ice extent is bumping along the bottom, with a new low of 3.421 million square kilometers on Tuesday, which rose very slightly to 3.429 million square kilometers on Wednesday and 3.45 million square kilometers on Thursday.

Scientists predicted on Friday that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer months within 20 years, leading to possibly major climate impacts. "I am surprised. This is an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing. The trends all show less ice and thinner ice," said Julienne Stroeve, a research scientist with the NSIDC

...when do the climate deniers get removed from the debate and left outside? They are the creationists at an evolution lecture using the same 'smoking hasn't been proven to cause cancer' type science arguments.

What will be interesting is tracking the immediacy of these changes and watching to see how the climate deniers attempt to spin it. The massive loss of sea ice may have a direct impact on this years European winter as the heat transfers in autumn...

Arctic sea ice melt 'may bring harsh winter to Europe'
The record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer may mean a cold winter for the UK and northern Europe. The region has been prone to bad winters after summers with very low sea ice, such as 2011 and 2007, said Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University.

"We can't make predictions yet … [but] I wouldn't be surprised to see wild extremes this winter," Francis told the Guardian.

This year's ice melt has broken the 2007 record by an an area larger than the state of Texas.

Polar ice experts "thought that it would be many years until we again saw anything like we saw in 2007", said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

The unprecedented expanse of ice-free Arctic Ocean has been absorbing the 24-hour sun over the short polar summer. The heat in the water must be released into the atmosphere if the ice is to re-form this autumn. "This is like a new energy source for the atmosphere," said Francis.

The rest of us have to prepare for the realities of a global warming future, climate deniers are holding onto a fantasy because the inconvenient truth of climate change affronts their cultural sensibilities. You honestly get the feeling that climate deniers would prefer to believe global warming is a Greenpeace hoax than agree with hippies.


What exact message does sending the SAS back into Afghanistan send?

I'm sorry, what exact 'message' are we sending the Taliban?

SAS 'will send a message' - defence analyst
The SAS isbeing re-deployed to Afghanistan to send a message to the killers of five New Zealand soldiers and lead patrols against the Taleban, a defence analyst has suggested.

Paul Buchanan is one of the smartest analysts in the game, but this 'sending a message' lark seems optimistic in the extreme.

The message sending the SAS back to Afghanistan sends is 'here are some more NZers to kill'.

Alexander the Great conquered Afghanistan, do we really think John the Clueless can?

When you occupy someone else's country, you need to justify every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year of that occupation. Afghanistan stopped being justifiable right after the West turned a blind eye to Hamid Karzai's corrupt rigging of his first election.

There are no military solutions in Afghanistan.


Small minded TVNZ 6pm News media and Valerie Adams

Please don't let me be the only one who is cringing over this weird jingoistic media coverage of Valerie's amazing olympic win?

I think Valerie is a modern day princess warrior and NZ hero. Her talent, her grace, her focus, her dignity are humbling and represents the very best our country has to offer.

Which is why I think some of this media focus is ugly and beneath her success.

Yes Nadzeya Ostapchuk was a drugs cheat. Yes it robbed Val of her moment on the podium and yes it's unfair, but now Valerie's win is legendary. It's not just a footnote in a sports almanac, the drama of her win builds her narrative as someone who stuck to the rules and won. That cheats do not in fact prosper, and that despite all the pressure to dope up and compete, Valerie did it clean and honestly.

The manner of her win builds her mana and builds the win. It in no way diminishes it.

Which is why the question line on the 6pm TVNZ News last week was weird. The story revolved around how tainted her medal was because it had physically been in the possession of Ostapchuk?

What an ugly thing to articulate.

The medal isn't tainted, it's been returned to it's rightful owner. If our sports news want to gain ratings by celebrating her win, then celebrate it. Don't drag her down into the mud.

Our medias' little brother complex needs dip for the chips on both its shoulders.


First the NZ Herald came for the bloggers, then they came for John Campbell...

First the NZ Herald came for the bloggers, then they came for John Campbell. Who else is on their liberal hitlist?

With their relaunch as a tabloid butterfly, the neo-liberal opinion shapers at the NZ Herald which Gordon Campbell refers to in his brilliant and must read take down of John Armstrong's criticism of bloggers, have sharpened their attacks on those Society see as providing an alternative narrative to the Planet Key fantasy the NZ Herald subscribes to.

John Roughan's ludicrous latest column, Save us from one-sided TV actually coincides with me watching Campbell more and more of late.

Campbell has taken up the challenge of media watchdog as opposed to media lapdog and has confronted the reality of this recession head on and has failed to stop asking questions. Campbell Live's work on child poverty is some of the best journalism this country has produced this year and Campbell Live's work on the Christchurch earthquake from the moment of the quake to the latest attack on schools in Christchurch has been the type of holding the powerful to account journalism that keeps the profession credible and respected.

John Roughan in attacking John Campbell shows the very worst kind of ignorance, it's rich white guy ignorance. It's the ignorance that John Key on Planet Key exhibits when asked any question on poverty and it's the kind of ignorance that is utterly inexcusable because privilege comes with a responsibility to at least be informed. Uniformed privilege is ugly, and so is this column by Roughan.

John argues that there must be justifiable reasons that the Government have decided to shut down schools in Christchurch and that because Campbell Live hasn't managed to find that justification, then Campbell is somehow biased and by insinuation can't be trusted.

This claim of bias coming from one of the Editorial Nazgul of the NZ Herald is as jaw dropping as a Government Cheerleader like John Armstrong attacking Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards for being too left wing.

Being accused of having a left wing bias by the NZ Herald is pretty easy when the NZ Herald is to the right of Genghis Khan.

If John Roughan has information from the Ministry of Education that justify's this latest kick in the guts to the people of Christchurch, perhaps as a columnist in the only daily nationwide newspaper he could use his news print inches to explain the counter position and justify his criticism of Campbell.

He doesn't, he ridiculously claims that because TV News aren't attacking the rationale of the Government, that means the rationale is sound?

What planet does John Roughan live on? Oh, that's right. Planet Key.

Roughan goes from the ludicrous to the criminally insane by then wailing about the Good-old-days-of-broadcasting-when-Paul-Holmes-was-on-TV meme, a man whose column this year on Waitangi Day boarded on race hate? That's the bloke in the billowing white robes and burning cross that Roughan yearns for? [see Roughan's form here.]

Tells you all you need to know doesn't it?

The reason the Ministry of Education is not coming forward with their explanations is because what is happening in Christchurch isn't mere rationalization of schools, it is the shock tactics of disaster capitalism. Ram through reforms before a shocked and startled local community can even react is an old trick of neo-liberal policy and that's exactly what is happening in our second largest city.

What is occurring in Christchurch is nothing short of a political coup. The drum beat to sell city assets, the taking of democracy from Environment Canterbury, Charter Schools and the enforced rebuild with minimum community input combine with this latest slap in the face over school closures.

Note it wasn't the Government's inept manner of 'consultation' that's the problem. It's not the Government's inept Hekia Parata screwing up another education announcement. It's not a communication strategy that has ended up spreading public panic.

Oh no, it's none of those things. It's that bloody John Campbell and his one sided television.

When the newspaper of choice for conservative kneejerks and beige bigots starts publicly hunting the bloggers and the few journalists prepared to critique the Planet Key narrative, you know there is a PR struggle going on for the hearts and minds of NZers.

Four years in to National's right wing agenda and the promise of John Key's empty optimism isn't being met in a 6.8% unemployment rate with the highest levels of inequality on record. The gatekeepers to Planet Key have to start denigrating the messengers to distract from the message.

Roughan adds the icing to this shit cake by blaming Campbell Live for creating a new entitlement of food for hungry children at school. That Roughan sees feeding hungry children at school as an 'entitlement' says it all.

Ugly. Very ugly.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Citizen A with Sue Bradford & Selwyn Manning

Citizen A with Sue Bradford & Selwyn Manning

Issue 1: Can the ACT Party survive the John Bank's/Kim Dotcom scandal and can the Maori Party survive the water hui fiasco?

Issue 2: Does Paula Bennett's manufactured $78billion beneficiary cost justify the crack down on welfare?

and Issue 3: Bloggers vs Journalists - what to make of John Armstrong's attack on Bryce Edwards & Gordon Campbell?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Friday, September 21, 2012

The real cost of the Private Prison experiment

The worst part of the private prison experiment is that the contract hasn't been before Parliament so that it can be scrutinized. We have no idea what we are signing ourselves up to for 25 years, SERCO are telling the London Stock Exchange more than they are telling us.

This month SERCO told the LSE they would be making $29m per year from their private prisons in NZ, over 25 years that's $725m. Please tell me that's included in the $900 million dollar cost to build Wiri?

How is it that we have $29m per year to pay for private prisons but we don't have money to feed children in school before they end up in that private prison?

The argument that this will save us $170m over the life of the contract is optimistic beyond credibility.

Another feature of the deal seems to be that we will pay for 960 beds at Wiri even if the prison isn't full. The incentives built into this deal favour SERCOs profit margin, they don't favor the social responsibilities to the wider community.

That ACC is a major shareholder in this private prison venture is the truly sick part. They will generate earnings from public investment into locking people up. The more people locked up, the more profit. This has all the morality of our Hospitals investing in blood diamond mines.

When Wiri is open, NZ will have the highest proportion in the world of prisoners in private prisons. This has happened with zero consultation over the long term implications of connecting corporate profit to incarceration.

Will SERCO be more honest with us than they have been in Britain? Here they are in the Guardian today admitting to providing false information to the NHS in Britain...

Serco gave NHS false data about its GP service 252 times
Serco, the leading private contractor to the government, has admitted that it presented false data to the NHS 252 times on the performance of its out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall.

Interesting that National are expanding the prison capacity right when beneficiaries are about to have their benefits cut. Todays-welfare-recipient-is-tomorrows-prisoner isn't much of a social policy, but then again, this isn't much of a government.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Editorial is nonsense

More tinny, high-pitched feed-back from the echo chamber of haters today as Farrar gets his previous blogs recycled by Fairfax:
Dom Post:
 Editorial: Water claim is nonsense

OPINION: The exact date of Maori arrival in New Zealand is a mystery, although carbon dating and Maori oral tradition point to the 13th century. About one thing, however, there is no doubt. Contrary to the impression created by the bellicose posturing of the Maori king, Maori have not ''always owned the water''.     

Scientists estimate New Zealand broke away from the Gondwana supercontinent about 85 million years ago. [...]

And thus begins yet another string of non sequiturs from a mouthpiece of the establishment espousing what is essentially just another elaboration of Pakeha Mythology. We've heard it all before in a million guises: Maori are nothing, so fuck 'em/the white man is everything, so we rule. The long format rationalisations are no less wrong, insensitive and racist.

There doesn't seem that much use in going through the editorial - or retracing Farrar's blogs (they are basically the same) - because they veer from the obtuse to the idiotic while skipping over the relevant history and facts. However all the elements of the prevailing mythology are present but can't get them any closer to answering the question: 'If Maori don't own it then when and how did the Crown get to own it?' The answer to that will be most unsatisfactory for the Pakeha mythologists because they will be searching fruitlessly in the archives for when this transfer occurred... 1840, no. 1841, no. 1842, no. 1843, no. 1844, no... We invaded the Waikato in 1863 - does that count? No.

So when did it say the Crown takes all of the water? 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867... All they can point to in the records will be discrete (and unlawful, unconstitutional) confiscations of waterways and water bodies and all of the same issues that came up with the foreshore and seabed when the general confiscation assertions in the Harbours Act etc. were gone through. The acts of thieving, rampaging governments of the past is no legitimate reason for Maori to lose the guarantee of undisturbed possession of their territories. That Pakeha act as though it is is the problem.
Dom Post:
Unfounded assertions increase the likelihood of emotion again distorting the debate. Maori have a right to state their case, but their cause is not helped by extravagant rhetoric.

It is the Pakeha newspaper making the unfounded assertions here, not Maori. They certainly haven't proved that Maori don't own water and nor have they even tried to prove that the Crown does. The Dom Post is the one using extravagant rhetoric. Do they put the Crown and Pakeha to the same test as Maori? Of course not - it is Maori that can put their case to the Crown, not the Crown putting it to Maori; it is Maori that must curtail their assertions, not the Crown or Pakeha. Maori are being told to remember their place in New Zealand - under the boot of the white man.

So they take a part of Kingi Tuheitia's speech on water and try to whip up - or dog whistle up - some old fashioned Maori bashing. That virulent weed of racism survives well in the New Zealand climate . The King's speech has not been reproduced in full online from what I can(n't) find, so we are stuck having the Pakeha media determining the words and the context of what he said - which is not helpful because they are demonstrably not neutral.

Talk about 'terminator seeds'

Love corn? Will we be loving it to death?
French scientists have revealed that rats fed on GM corn sold by American firm Monsanto, suffered tumors and other complications including kidney and liver damage. When testing the firm’s top brand weed killer the rats showed similar symptoms.

The French government has asked its health and safety agency to assess the study and had also sent it to the European Union's food safety agency, Reuters reports.

"Based on the conclusion…, the government will ask the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health, measures that could go as far as an emergency suspension of imports of NK603 maize in the European Union," the French health, environment and farm ministries said in a joint statement.

Researchers from the University of Caen found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a seed variety made tolerant to amounts of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller – or given water mixed with the product, at levels permitted in the United States – died earlier than those on a standard diet.

The research conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his colleagues, said the rats suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The study was published in the journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology and presented at a news conference in London.

More relevant is what GM products will do to humans - and looking at the American population we may conclude it causes rampant obesity. On the Monsanto website it is difficult to determine what is and isn't genetically modified ('GM') because they just say it's all 'biotechnology' without making a distinction in order to obscure and camouflage what they are doing:

What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology, or genetic engineering, is the process of inserting a gene from one species, like a plant or a bacterium, into another species. Typically the gene inserted will express an advantageous characteristic in the plant, such as the [...]

No, that's genetic modification - one aspect of biotechnology. By conflating the two and using 'biotechnology' instead of 'GM' or 'genetic engineering' Monsanto tries to avoid the flack (their generic made-up names like Genuity® can't hide what it is.) And there's heaps of flack:
Last Friday France said it will uphold a ban on genetically modified crops produced by the American biotech giant Monsanto. The move came as President Francois Hollande pushed his plan to put the environment back at the top of the international agenda.

The US government sees GM as an advantage held by Monsanto and other American corporates in the world trade system, if only the other countries would just relent and let it in. These are some of the nasties to watch out for in any trade deal with the Americans. 

It's just a wee bit of cancer anyway, look - he's smiling isn't he, it's probably quite benign...

Private prison report massaged & locking up sex offenders forever

The latest report on private prison SERCO's first year seems terribly massaged to me. Officially it has failed nearly half of its performance targets but a critic might question the validity of the results when so much is riding on the private prison experiment.

These are after all, the exact same monitors that didn't realize SERCO weren't complying with the Transportation rules that were brought in after the 2006 death of 17 year old Liam Ashley in the back of a prison van. Once the media pick up on that realization, harsher scrutiny of SERCO's use of unskilled labour to do Corrections officers jobs might follow.

When the Government aren't giving hospital passes to private prisons, they're dancing a merry jig to lock up as many NZers as possible. Everyone's favorite pariah, sex offenders, will look to be detained forever even after they've served their sentence if the Government get their way.

In the same week that the European Court of Human Rights ruled that jailing offenders indefinitely without providing proper access to rehabilitation is illegal, perhaps we should consider why these offenders are serving full sentences without rehabilitation?

In NZ, a prisoner won't gain access to rehabilitation if they don't admit guilt. Many sex offenders can not come to terms with their guilt and go into denial, meaning they gain no access to rehabilitation meaning they serve full sentences and are released minus any rehabilitation. Under this new law, we will simply deal to that structural issue by locking them up forever.

The only ones jumping for joy at that news, will be the private prisons paid to house them.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TUMEKE EXCLUSIVE: Interview with John Banks' empty Parliamentary Chair

If it's good enough for Clint Eastwood at the Republican book burning, it's good enough for Tumeke.

Tumeke: Mr Banks can you explain how you didn't know SkyCity personally gave you $15 000 in an envelope with the SkyCity logo on it?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: Mr Banks, that doesn't sound very credible to me.

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke:Yes, but Mr Key has to keep you around because if he kicked you out, you're the kind of unblinking head banger to throw his toys and cause a by-election aren't you?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: Sure, but you can't seriously suggest that he actually believes that you didn't know Kim Dot Com gave you $50 000?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: And how many people give you $50 000?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: You went to his party didn't you?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: and you called him afterwards?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: and you told him to split the money into two lots of $25 000 so it would be anonymous?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: So why did you tell the media when they first started asking questions about your relationship with him, that you barely knew him and hadn't spent more than 5 minutes with him?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: Mr Banks, we are all adults, you can't expect us to believe that?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke: Where?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:


John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke:How is that even possible?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke:But Mr Banks, that breaks the laws of time, physics and basic geography

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke:Are you currently under any medication?

John Banks' empty Parliamentary chair:

Tumeke:I see.


Maori & Unions: a unique NZ solution

Economist Brian Easton has pointed out in his essay reviewing the 30 year history of neo-liberalism in NZ that the left have to create an alternative economic argument that goes beyond the rights failed free market systems.

He argues that we have to come up with unique NZ solutions to our economic malaise and the new relationship forged yesterday between the union movement and Maoridom at the historic CTU/Iwi Relationship Hui is, I think, a very unique NZ solution that has the potential to reinvigorate unionism and empower Maori at the same time.

The speed with which Tallys/Affco folded the second Iwi became involved and threatened them with starting up their own meat works was one of the victories for workers this year. That Tallys/Affco would use hunger against the 5000 children impacted by that lockout/strike reminded Iwi that their whanau were the ones on the front line.

The challenge for Maoridom is to redefine capitalism. If Maori Capitalism is just as venal as Pakeha Capitalism, then nothing has been gained, but if they redefine it so that the people are the value, then NZ will be a far better nation for the effort.

People's hero and CTU Vice President Syd Keepa is a great man with the mana and intellect to make this new relationship dynamic enough to make an impact. The 200 Iwi and Unionists who filled the hui in Tauranga yesterday was testament that this has the potential to redefine unionism for the economic challenges confronting the country.


Paula Bennett goes from 3 strikes to one strike

Does anyone in NZ keep a straight face when Paula claims her draconian crack downs on welfare are not bennie bashing?

Claiming every beneficiary will still be on the benefit when they turn 65 to manufacture the $78b 'cost' is morally bankrupt panic creation.

But that's the point, Paula wants to scare the bejesus out of everyone so that when the beneficiary pogrom reaches its zenith, their screams of anguish will be drowned out by the sound of all that $78billion we will be supposedly saving.

Let's see...

3 missed phone calls from winz will lose you welfare,

Drug testing that will cost us twice as much as it will save,

state pressured contraception,

back to work when second child turns one year old,

arrest warrant disqualifications from benefits

and 'social obligations' that if they aren't fulfilled will lose you benefits

NOW we have...

'One strike' rule for beneficiaries
One strike and you're out will be the tough new rule for welfare beneficiaries who turn down any "suitable" job offer from next July.

If we are to judge a country on how it treats its most vulnerable, NZers are a pack of nasty right wing arseholes who seem to relish life made more difficult for the poorest amongst us.

All the while, on Planet Key, the Government play Golf and go on holidays. On Planet NZ we have the highest inequality rates in history and 270 000 children in poverty.

This is state sanctioned cruelty, welcome to economic Darwinism.


2 swallows don't make a summer and 12 people at a hui doesn't make for a consultative process

Attendance at first water rights hui: 12 Only about a dozen people are in attendance at a hui over water rights in Hamilton.

This entire pretense of consultation is aimed at blunting the inevitable legal action that will take place. It's asking Maori to play along with a pantomime that the Government have already decided the outcome of.

Isn't it amazing that Key will grant water rights to his farmer mates by destroying Ecan, but won't let Maori collectively own their water?

John Tamihere and Willie Jackson's sudden promotion onto the Maori Council show that they mean business.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

John Key and Maori 'playing into his hands'

Water hui boycott 'strengthens Government's position' - Key Asked if the boycott played into the Government's hands in terms of a potential legal challenge to the sale of Mighty River Power shares, Key responded:"Yes".

When John Key was asked if Maori were 'playing into his hands' did he throw his head back and laugh maniacally and scream 'yes' while stroking a bald cat?

Maori refusing to play along with the pretense of consultation by not going to Hui isn't playing into your hands you power freak.

Key is going to use the water issue the same way Muldoon used the Springbok tour to divide this country.

This is going to get ugly, listening to this prat boast about it all playing into his hands is as eye rolling as his 'Planet Key' brainfart in Parliament today.


Planet Key

The National Party's favourite meme is that Labour live on 'Planet Labour' where there is no global economic crisis. John Key was asked today in Parliament what life was like on 'Planet Key', he responded by saying it was nirvana with golf courses and holidays.

So Planet Key is populated by smug rich arseholes? It sounds like Epsom, only whiter.

When NZ's inequality is at its highest level ever in our history, do we really want to re-elect this arrogant out of touch clown?


The Pakeha Veto

Who "owns" the water? Depends, doesn't it.

Ownership definitions can be legal, social and economic and rest on particular circumstances and informed by historical evidence, but the two central issues in an answer to ownership or what can and can't be property is:

1)What is the capacity or extent of possession (the physical holding, control, occupation and use of something by someone), and
2) What is the extent of the acceptance by others to the right to possess (esp. others in a position to challenge or cross-claim).

With this assessment we can start to build a picture of property rights. The strongest rights will be those where someone both physically possesses something and that possession is recognised by everyone else; and weaker rights being where someone possesses something without any acceptance by others that they should, or the other way around: having their rights accepted but not being able to hold or use it (which could be for any number of reasons).

The debate over water brings the ownership/property right to the fore, but the discussion is typically racialised without recourse to any philosophical position, or is blurred in preference to a racialised position reflecting the cultural identity, assumptions and fear of the proponent.
The Tory's online cheerleader puts the usual Pakeha angle thoughtlessly, unreflectively and succinctly enough to afford a useful analysis:
The view of King Tuheitia that all water is owned by Maori and should be controlled solely by Maori must not be accepted.[...]What annoyed me over King Tuheitia’s views is the damage it does to the generally tolerant New Zealand we have. There are genuinely divergent views on issues around the Treaty and Maori in New Zealand. That is inevitable, and will always be the case.

However many, even most, people place greater value of having relative harmony in race relations than insisting that the law must reflect their personal views. Take the Maori seats as one issue.

He sums up the Pakeha view quite well. First he just states straight out that the Maori position should not be accepted - must not be accepted. This is normal: Pakeha are the dominant group in NZ and don't think it necessary to explain, defend or even critique their own assertions when it comes to telling Maori what is what.

The reason why it "must not be accepted"? Race relations: "relative harmony in race relations". In other words the dominant group will turn against Maori if Maori say they have rights to certain things. The corollary of this is obviously that Maori have to shut up, drop their insistence to their rights and just accept whatever the hostile, ignorant Pakeha public wants. At this point he then goes on to make an extraordinary leap to say that the Maori stance is merely a "personal" view. A personal view... of hundreds of thousands however. If a view differs from his own personal conception of race relations (meaning the relegation of Maori to Pakeha interests) then he thinks it is a personal view!? His attempt to equate Pakeha refraining from abolishing the Maori seats as some sort of quid pro quo for not having recognised Maori rights and interests is as simply racist as it is simply a sad reality of living in a colonial context.
Now this tolerance and desire for harmony should go both ways in my view. As someone born in New Zealand, who has no other country they call home, I get upset when the Maori King advocates that I have no rights to water in New Zealand – that Maori should control, manage and allocate water. And a hui is held to seemingly advance this view.

And I am not alone in getting upset, when such claims are asserted. The vast majority of New Zealanders find such a claim repugnant, and the impact of such posturing is to diminish the pool of goodwill that exists. It will create a climate where support for settling historical grievances will evaporate, where tolerance of the Maori seats will diminish.

Tolerance is a two-way street.

So Maori - in this Pakeha view - are to be subject to a low threshold of Pakeha intolerance, but Maori must have basically unlimited tolerance to put up with whatever Pakeha impose - and this is held up as the recipe for race relations harmony. It is template for the domination and dependence of Maori; and the Pakeha wouldn't have it any other way - certainly not this one. This is the colonial conceit common in every country taken over by European immigrants: the natives can co-exist with us as long as they do what we tell them, when we tell them and how we tell them, and if they don't... they don't get to exist anymore.

Along with the conceit is the sheer hypocrisy, especially considering what is going on in Canterbury right now. The elected regional councillors were sacked by the National government because they refused to allocate water to the farmers. The government intend to extend the undemocratic take-over until their appointees can give all the water away to their farmer chums. The scarce water resource on the plains are being divided as if the Crown owns it all. The water is valuable, it can be put into the possession of someone and those rights are recognised by the council and the other Crown agencies, so it does have all the attributes of property and ownership as discussed above. Pakeha don't have a problem with the Crown owning it of course because the Crown is an instrument of the Pakeha and can be relied on to do their bidding (against the interests of Maori).

The facts of how the official Crown position of "no-one owns the water" came about and how Pakeha think about water is ignored. The fact is that in most instances the Crown (and Pakeha via the Crown) asserted control over various water bodies against the wishes of Maori. The story of why the Crown controls water is shameful, unlawful, unconstitutional (Treaty breaches at the least) and opportunistic in the extreme. For example the original declaration of war by the NZ government on the Kingites and Tainui in 1863 prohibited all Maori travelling by night from the waterways around Auckland. That confiscation declaration took all the lands "up to the waters" of the Waitemata and Manukau. The reason the Crown can claim control is because they murdered and massacred their way through the country on an aggressive 'ethnic cleansing' mission - and seeing as how the Crown is bound by the Treaty that can be no basis for legitimate ownership of the land, the water or anything else in those areas for that matter.

NZ Herald:
Prime Minister John Key is unconcerned with reports iwi will boycott the first "shares plus" hui today, saying they are "more than welcome" to choose not to attend.
The hui in Hamilton will be the first of six around the country to discuss the Waitangi Tribunal's "shares plus" idea, which would give some Maori shareholders additional rights - an option the Government has all but ruled out as it pushes ahead with the partial sale of three state-owned energy companies.
Tainui iwi were invited to tonight's hui but Waikato Tainui and Ngati Koroki Kahukura had indicated they would not be going, Radio New Zealand reported.
Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Raukawa could not be contacted while Hauraki still planned to go, RNZ said.
Finance Minister Bill English, who will attend the six hui in 10 days, yesterday said he was confident the partial sale of assets could go ahead next year if market conditions allowed.
"The Government is confident that in law no one owns water, and is also confident that proceeding with the share offerings will not compromise its ability to recognise those rights and interests that Maori do have in water."

Trying to circumvent and pre-empt a Maori national discussion and position is an attempt to undermine the Kotahitanga affirmed at the hui convened by Kingi Tuheitia. This is the same Crown behaviour that has a long pedigree and usually preceeds conflict as the Crown does whatever the controlling inner Cabinet of Pakeha ministers decide upon - taking a few favoured kupapa along for the ride - using them as justification and providing an argument that assent has been obtained from Maori.

The wheels are already falling off the NZ government's divide and rule tactics.

After reading the article we have to strike out most Iwi from the first hui. Whanganui will be dominated by Maori Party figures most likely so they will tow the Crown line and show up. Ngai Tahu are corporatist and familiar with government engagement and will probably attend. Tuhoe on the other hand may well tell them where to stick it. At best it will be a half-pie process.
The hui:
- Tuesday 18 September, Tainui waka iwi including Waikato, Hauraki, Ngati Raukawa [?] and Ngati Koroki Kahukura, in Hamilton
- 19 September, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa, in Taupo
- 19 September, Whanganui Iwi, in Whanganui
- 26 September, Tainui waka iwi Ngati Maniapoto, in Te Kuiti
- 27 September Waikaremoana Iwi including Ngai Tuhoe [?], Ngati Ruapani and Ngati Kahungunu ki te Wairoa, in Tuai
- 27 September, Ngai Tahu, in Christchurch