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Thursday, April 30, 2009

nz blogosphere rankings : March 2009 summary

NZ blogosphere March 2009 survey will be released tomorrow - this is the summary. Very competitive around the #20 - traffic progressing well in this band, but stable in the top 10 for the March survey. Thanks to all those bloggers who have sent in their stats (editor (at) tumeke.org) and to those about to send them in for April.

Changes from last month (February) in brackets.

Top 100:

#40 (new) Offsetting Behaviour : www.offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com
#45 (new) Canterbury Atheist : www.canterburyatheists.blogspot.com
#63 (new) En Avant : www.jimdonovan.net.nz
#69 (new) The Fairfacts Media Show : www.fairfactsmedia.blogspot.com

[+] significant ranking moves up:
#13 (+6) The Visible Hand in Economics
#16 (+12) Barnsley Bill
#17 (+10) MacDoctor Moments
#25 (+12) The Persuader
#39 (+47) The Evolving Newsroom
#41 (+24) Knowledge Workers
#61 (+18) Say Hello to my Little Friend
#64 (+19) Eye of the Fish
#66 (+22) Samuel Dennis

[-] significant ranking moves down:
#24 (-8) New Zeal
#30 (-19) Poneke’s Weblog
#51 (-13) Big News
#56 (-31) TBR.cc (The Briefing Room)
#65 (-14) Aotearoa: a wider perspective
#70 (-10) Socialist Aotearoa

[Posts] Average per week:
140 (+10) Whoar
70 (-) Kiwiblog
55 (-10) Whaleoil
50 (+10) Inquiring Mind
40 (+5) Standard
40 (+10) Home Paddock
35 (+5) Hand Mirror
35 (+10) Roar Prawn
35 (-) Keeping Stock
30 (-) Not PC
30 (+5) No Right Turn
30 (-5) TUMEKE!
30 (n/a) Barnsley Bill
25 (-15) No Minister
25 (+5) TVHE
25 (-15) Aotearoa: a wider perspective
25 (n/a) Alf Grumble
20 (n/a) Frogblog
20 (n/a) MacDoctor
20 (n/a) Anti-Dismal

[Comments] Average highest post per week:
310 (+30) Public Address
145 (+35) Standard
135 (-15) Kiwiblog
105 (-20) Frogblog
60 (+5) Hand Mirror
45 (+25) Eye of the Fish
40 (-10) TUMEKE!
40 (-) Kiwipolitico
40 (+10) Reading the Maps
35 (+5) Not PC
35 (-10) Dim Post
35 (+10) Open Parachute
35 (+10) NZ Conservative
35 (n/a) MandM
35 (n/a) Lindsay Mitchell
30 (-) Cactus Kate
30 (-15) Hot Topic
25 (-15) No Minister
25 (n/a) Barnsley Bill
25 (-) In a Stranage Land
20 (-) TVHE
20 (-) Inquiring Mind
20 (n/a) MacDoctor
20 (n/a) Keeping Stock
20 (n/a) TBR
20 (n/a) Samuel Dennis


A disappointing first 100 days

Pilger sums up the disappointment of Obama’s ‘change’.

John Pilger
In his first 100 days, Obama has excused torture, opposed habeas corpus and demanded more secret government. He has kept Bush’s gulag intact and at least 17,000 prisoners beyond the reach of justice. On 24 April, his lawyers won an appeal that ruled Guantanamo Bay prisoners were not “persons”, and therefore had no right not to be tortured. His national intelligence director, Admiral Dennis Blair, says he believes torture works. One of his senior US intelligence officials in Latin America is accused of covering up the torture of an American nun in Guatemala in 1989; another is a Pinochet apologist. As Daniel Ellsberg has pointed out, the US experienced a military coup under Bush, whose secretary of “defence”, Robert Gates, along with the same warmaking officials, has been retained by Obama.

All over the world, America’s violent assault on innocent people, directly or by agents, has been stepped up. During the recent massacre in Gaza, reports Seymour Hersh, “the Obama team let it be known that it would not object to the planned resupply of ‘smart bombs’ and other hi-tech ordnance that was already flowing to Israel” and being used to slaughter mostly women and children. In Pakistan, the number of civilians killed by US missiles called drones has more than doubled since Obama took office.

In Afghanistan, the US “strategy” of killing Pashtun tribespeople (the “Taliban”) has been extended by Obama to give the Pentagon time to build a series of permanent bases right across the devastated country where, says Secretary Gates, the US military will remain indefinitely. Obama’s policy, one unchanged since the Cold War, is to intimidate Russia and China, now an imperial rival. He is proceeding with Bush’s provocation of placing missiles on Russia’s western border, justifying it as a counter to Iran, which he accuses, absurdly, of posing “a real threat” to Europe and the US. On 5 April in Prague, he made a speech reported as “anti-nuclear”. It was nothing of the kind. Under the Pentagon’s Reliable Replacement Warhead programme, the US is building new “tactical” nuclear weapons designed to blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war.

Perhaps the biggest lie – the equivalent of smoking is good for you – is Obama’s announcement that the US is leaving Iraq, the country it has reduced to a river of blood. According to unabashed US army planners, as many as 70,000 troops will remain “for the next 15 to 20 years”. On 25 April, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, alluded to this. It is not surprising that the polls are showing that a growing number of Americans believe they have been suckered – especially as the nation’s economy has been entrusted to the same fraudsters who destroyed it. Lawrence Summers, Obama’s principal economic adviser, is throwing $3trn at the same banks that paid him more than $8m last year, including $135,000 for one speech. Change you can believe in.

Drawing the line

NZ Herald carries an interesting opinion piece by Phil York, president of the Auckland Province of Federated Farmers on the question of Auckland's boundaries - falling as they must in the rural districts. The major issue for the farmers is the potential for the new council - with a maximum of three councillors to represent them in the new structure (any way you cut it) - to restrict the current permitted activities in these zones:

What is needed for the new Auckland is a structure that will ensure rural areas don't become urban playgrounds that are "protected" in a way that excludes any viable use.

I note that last night Len Brown, Mayor of Manukau, said that he had no problems with Franklin being outside the super city - as is that council's wish.

York: Farmers in the Rodney District already pay almost four times the amount farmers on equivalent farms in Manukau City pay, so an Auckland-wide rating system is hardly likely to result in higher rates for rural Rodney.

Once inside the city Rodney and Franklin cannot control anything - their rates, their zoning - nothing. If the 90% or more urban councillors decide to turn the rural districts into parks and restrict uses to preserve "heritage" then they will not be able to do anything about it. If they want to move the Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL- see map below) out to Hellensville or out to Pukekohe there is nothing their one, two or three votes on the council can do about that. And if the council wants to encourage suburbanisation by hiking the rates on rural land to encourage subdivision then there is no stopping them.


No Ms. Bennett, YOU miss the point

Boot-camp critics miss point, says Bennett
Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett has defended the military-style camps planned by the Government after the Families Commission said they would do little to reduce youth offending and in some cases might increase it. The Youth Courts Jurisdiction and Orders Amendment Bill will give the Youth Court new sentencing orders ranging from tight supervision to three-month stays in camps. If passed, it would enable the court to issue parenting orders and its jurisdiction would be extended to include 12- to 13-year-olds who committed serious crimes. Military-style camps, or boot camps, have been evaluated and have regularly been shown to "be ineffective at reducing crime", the Families Commission's submission to a parliamentary committee said. "This is because they emphatically do not address the underlying causes of offending, which are rooted in the offenders' home, school and community. "The offending of young people who have attended some of these camps has increased." Putting young offenders together and not addressing underlying causes of the offending creates a culture that reinforces criminal values, the commission said. National MP Chester Borrows said the camps were getting a bad rap. He said people's concept of what the programmes would be was not what was envisioned. Ms Bennett said the critics of the camps had "missed the point". "We are not lurching back to the days of packing all bad kids off to boot camps en masse for corrective training. "That has been tried and failed here and elsewhere."

No Ms. Bennett, YOU miss the point. When National launched this policy they specifically played up Boot Camps – John Key laboured the name, made reference to it whenever he could, and the reason was because Boot Camps are raw meat policy for the hard right who love this shit, the reality is that boot camps don’t work, there is no academic evidence whatsofuckingever that this nonsense bullshit works and to have Bennett and Borrows running around proclaiming ‘you’ve got it all wrong” when National played up the boot camp element at the time they launched this populist crap is demeaning to two talented National Party MPs.

Just like putting junk food back into schools, wasting millions on boot camps is for the benefit of redneck voters, Bennett and Borrows can pretend otherwise, but it’s just pretending.

Clean coal is like good cancer – it doesn’t exist

'Safe' climate means 'no to coal'
About three-quarters of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be left unused if society is to avoid dangerous climate change, scientists warn. More than 100 nations support the goal of keeping temperature rise below 2C. But the scientists say that without major curbs on fossil fuel use, 2C will probably be reached by 2050. Writing in Nature, they say politicians should focus on limiting humanity's total output of CO2 rather than setting a "safe" level for annual emissions.

This interesting isn’t it because NIWA just happen to be a half owner in a coal company. I wonder where they would be on this issue - climate change scientists call for coal to no longer be burnt, NIWA owns half a coal company, where would their interests be and why was prominent climate change scientist Jim Salinger sacked from NIWA this week?

Swine Flu: Mutation, triple infection rates in NZ and the role of intensive farming in spreading disease

Okay, day 4 of swine flu and I’m getting bored by it already. If I don’t start seeing mass infection rates and death I’m going back to my Family Guy DVD collection. Here’s the latest, fears it will mutate to be resistant to Tamiflu, the numbers inside NZ of suspected cases trebled over night and most interesting the possibility that this swine flu has it’s source from Mexican intensive pig farming practices. Animals mass produced in such cruel environments need massive doses of antibiotics to keep them disease free, but that has complications (one of them being disease resistant viruses) and with Mexican locals fearing the pig waste is leaking into their water supply, it may be an idea to actually ask if that cheap bacon is worth the possible cost to us from such cruel farming products.

There would be a wonderful irony if a pandemic that killed millions of humans was started from cruel farming practices used purely to create cheap meat.

Swine flu pandemic alert rises
LATEST The World Health Organisation has raised the pandemic threat level from swine flu to phase 5 as the virus spread and killed the first person outside Mexico, a toddler in Texas.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the decision to raise the alert level from phase 4 - signifying transmission in only one country - after reviewing the latest scientific evidence on the outbreak.

"I have decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5," Chan told a news briefing.

Phase 5 is the WHO's second highest level of warning that a pandemic, or global outbreak of a serious new illness, is imminent. Phase 6 means a pandemic has begun.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine flu pharmaceutical ads from 1976

Len Brown and the left's Super City angsting

Cunliffe and co. were out West on Monday, and tonight the war drums against the Nactional government's super city plans were beating at the London Bar on Queen Street where the young activists were treated to Manukau City Mayor and great left hope, Len Brown. I had to shoot away after the main address so I can only comment on that part.

It was a let down on three points —

Firstly, Len Brown did not make a great impact. He said some solid things, but he was too freezing works for this middle class crowd. And he will be too ragged sounding (and probably prone to waffle) to achieve the cut through on television the way Banks can. I saw Brown on the Triangle TV super city debate last week and he was leading the left as its alpha male - over the skeletal and quizzical Bob Harvey. But he was not particularly articulate. He wasn't tonight either. He emphasised his PASSION!, but he needs more than that. An agenda with more definition would be helpful. Brown is still in mental flux over the super city - that was obvious. He was prefacing, and fudging and had no strong lines on some of the issues I would have expected a Mayoral contender and the leader of a bloc to have. Which brings us to:

Secondly, the trenchant claim/belief/mantra that at-large Council seats will benefit the right was given a lot of repetition by various speakers including Brown. That is only true if you accept that as a political idea and as a political machine the left will lose. It is a defeatist and fearful attitude. All the stuff about diversity with ward councillors is confused and I doubt that playing out the scenarios of even 25 councillors on a purely ward-only basis will provide any more or any less diverse representation than an at-large system; especially if there were 9 or more on a ticket basis the way they do in London (11). Rodney Hide says 8. The right are trying to talk him down on those numbers and get more ward councillors - why? Because that is how they will win. So why would the left be helping them promote that agenda!? - because they are dumb, fearful and disunited. The mandate and cohesiveness of people elected by all to serve all is disturbingly irrelevant to the left it seems. The left should be lobbying for more than 8 not less or none.

What he is saying - if you look at the statements - is that the left cannot put up a fight, does not have the activists, the money or the will, or the unity to campaign on a single ticket and best the demonised C&R Remmers crowd. It's a gutless call in many respects.

Thirdly: The left's reaction was absolute stony silence on two huge issues that Brown raised as important to him:
1. The revelation he had had that the right will crucify the left it it runs up big rates bills beyond inflation and mentioned that some sort of capping arrangement might be in order (silence, total silence on all of these things)
2. That public assets should remain in public ownership. Silence.
In the old days, the lefties would be applauding this stuff with great enthusiasm - not today. Was it because Len Brown was saying it? Was it because the left couldn't care less and does not see the dangers? A few lefty Auckland City Councillors were present as were Labourites/unionists but whether because they think it is safe or whether they think Len Brown shouldn't be the one carrying the message it bodes badly for the left for them not to be acknowledging some of Brown's better concepts.

Len Brown was fired up but the university, inner-city, Labour cliques remained uninspired. He was beyond suburban - he was provincial - in his language, presentation and with elements of his ideological pragmatism. This did not impress. They also probably would have appreciated some concrete sorts of policies - I sensed that was an expectation - and instead we got a weird sort of passionate redundancy speech as mayor of a soon to be disestablished entity.

He had so little impact that some prick near the leather couches in the Tory-looking section of the lounge successfully managed to cut him off by applauding as he was in the middle of concluding. That was enough to say he did not properly command the room. He needs a lot of work to run against Banks for the top job.

The hikoi set for 25 May to promote Maori representation was mentioned on several occasions - here's the leaflet:

IHI= Iwi Have Influence website (run by Ngati Whatua comms man Ngarimu Blair) is given as a contact point for this demonstration:

[UPDATE-- 11:30AM 30/04/2009:
Since I cannot find Michael Cullen's valedictory speech on You Tube, here is his a grainy video of an address to a Drinking Liberally in Wellington last year. On social democracy and the right.
Text of speech.--UPDATE ENDS]


Pryde cometh before a fall

Following yesterday's rebuke of errant NZ lawyer Christopher Thomas Pryde on this blog the question has been raised about a solution to the problem.

Perhaps revoking his NZ passport is not really much of a hit. There may be something more effective available for this lawyer who has foresaken his commitment to the rule of law and has joined the Fijian dictatorship as underling to the shadowy Attorney-General at the legal department of a regime that has abrogated the constitution and now rules in a self-proclaimed "New Legal Order" - that is just a series of decrees emanating from the close circle of military and corrupted politicians of which he has become welded. I am beyond calling him names. It's action time.

You want a solution - a start to a solution? You want smart sanctions? Let's start in our own back yard with our own rogue citizens going off and playing legal mercenaries in Fiji. Let's knock that on the head right now.

From one of the few news outlets still operating in Fiji.

We have to find a judge in Fiji who holds a warrant under the 1997 constitution to order an extradition warrant for Christopher Thomas Pryde to stand trial for treason (or whatever is a non-death penalty extraditable offence) as a person who has sworn a treasonous oath (as the Raw Fiji News described it) and then we need to send this warrant to the NZ authorities who will act on it - and as soon as that creep lands on NZ soil he will be arrested and held in prison pending that trial in Fiji which must take place under a recognised regime in Fiji and therefore he will be held in jail in NZ until that time - when the dictatorship ends.

How's that for a sentence? Can our Attorney-General act on this?

He will seek a bail hearing, being a lawyer he would expect it to be granted, but I believe that the Crown's argument and the absolute repugnance for the abuse of the law in order to further a military dictatorship will be so strong on the bench that they will send this guy straight back to Mt Eden until there is a government in Fiji that is recognised by the NZ government.

McCully and Key should both make statements that they will put these NZ collaborators into prison should they dare come back here. This will be a very firm isolation measure that at least stops our people adding to the problems by sustaining them.

Fiji civil servants may be trying to boycott this regime and not take illegal oaths to an illegitimate military dictatorship in order to bring it down and restore democracy. So why should NZ stand by and let its cretinous, evil citizens fill those positions? Why would the NZ government allow its citizens to be the mortar that holds the dictatorship together?

They have to get this guy. He should be in the cell next to George Speight. We can't allow him one day of freedom in this country - let alone Fiji.

We need to lure him here - using his own greed and bloated sense of self importance as bait... what about a knighthood? Look at that toad - he'll slither through the bayonets of his military henchmen to grasp that bauble won't he. Let's make it ironic... for the guardianship of constitutionality, the stewardship and upholding of the rule of law and democracy in the South Pacific, and for services to the Fijian judiciary. Yeah? C'mangeeeeettiiiiiitt...

Alright maybe it could never be that beautiful but can it not be done in some way? I think he will crawl back to this rock of his own accord most likely.

Let's get this bastard. Let's show him how it's done in the real world - the one that he rejects and conspires against. Let's do it old school, let's do it over here - with a judiciary you can't sack just because you fucked up your court case; and a system you can't just completely redesign unilaterally and have proclaimed as law because you can't handle being a loser.

Christopher Thomas Pryde is a legal midget. A tin-pot lawyer in a tin-pot regime.

Collaborating with Bainimarama's "new order" will prove even more inconvenient than wearing a full business suit in Suva; and - as everything he has done thus far - it is purely and entirely a voluntary decision on his part, even an enthusiastic one. He will live to regret it by being held accountable for it.

Christopher Thomas Pryde - after serving the coup-master for a couple of years which culminates in his career high of losing the dictatorship's case for their own existence - has re-signed on to v2.0 of that regime that has promised elections... in 2014. He can stay there until that time - when he can be transfered from NZ custody to the new Fijian government.

This guy is an arsehole make no mistake:
...Judges do not have to worry about their futures in Fiji and there is not a single piece of evidence then or since for Mr Field to draw that conclusion.
- Well there's ample evidence now.

This clown lost his court case for the regime so badly that the court sacked him and the regime and called for immediate elections - and then within 48 hours all the judges get told they are sacked, an election is put off for five years, and he's re-appointed... by whom? By an illegal dictatorship of which he is an integral part.

Last week the law societies of both Fiji and NZ said no lawyers should take up positions in the illegal order. We have to give some teeth to these sorts of civil society sanctions and send some strong messages about the commitment to the restoration of democracy and legitimate government in Fiji.


Swine Flu in NZ worst case scenario

Three pupils have killer disease
Thousands of New Zealanders may have been exposed to the deadly swine flu virus because of a three-day delay in alerting health boards to potentially infected people. Health Ministry officials confirmed last night that three of the 11 Rangitoto College pupils had contracted the deadly virus after visiting Mexico on a school trip. They were awaiting testing results on another seven pupils, who were assumed to have the virus.

Okay, so it’s here, what’s the deal – how bad can a pandemic actually get, well if we look at the pandemic planning the Bird Flu created last time, and based on a 2% kill rate we are looking at 40% infection rate with 33 000 deaths in the space of 8 weeks, normally we deal with 550 deaths a week in NZ, something like this would swamp our ability to deal with the corpses. Within Mexico the kill rate is said to be 7% but what is mystifying everyone is why the rate within Mexico is so much worse than what we are getting at the moment, the virus has either mutated to something much more benign or we aren’t getting what it has mutated into, WHO warn this is mutating rapidly so that could be a curse or a blessing.

Much has been made of the fact that this is a ‘media beat up’ now while it is certainly in the interests of the media to terrify and scare you to make money, the reality is that pandemics do happen, they are a biological reality and they can be terribly damaging to a country, not just in the immediate loss of life but it is the suddenness of that loss of life that causes the social unrest. We are overdue for a massive pandemic, one has been building evolutionally since the last major one in 1918, let’s hope this isn’t it as a 7% kill rate is much higher than the one we’ve been planning for of 2%.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Christopher Thomas Pryde - the venal, white red face of Fijian despotism

Christopher Thomas Pryde is a disgrace. This grubby scum should be disbarred and his NZ passport canceled forthwith. He is an enemy of democracy and of this country.

Christopher Thomas Pryde will have to be held to account for his actions - and if he scuttles back to this country he should be sent back to Fiji to face the music as the conspirator to treason that he is - undoubtedly. If the cunt cares so much for Fiji the shit head can stay there - forever, and preferably in prison along with Speight and all the other usurpers. We should not harbour this international criminal.

He is a tool of and now key figure in the dictatorship. The prick is already attending international conferences representing Fiji, along with his military entourage:

The Solicitor-General, Mr Christopher Pryde will be among those attending a security governance meeting organised by the United Nations Development Programme – Pacific Centre and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Tonga.

Mr Pryde, as well as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Commander Viliame Naupoto accompany Minister for Defence, Ratu Epeli Ganilau and will be leaving early tomorrow (28/04/09) morning. The high-level meeting starts today and ends on Thursday (30/04/09).

This is a man who has accepted the role of Solicitor-General in an illegal regime. This is the man who will protect the military PM from the murder charges he was facing before his coup (the first coup - not this latest one) for ordering the summary execution of troops involved in a mutiny. He is taking orders from and shielding a murder suspect amongst other things.

Christopher Thomas Pryde is the type of creature who gives lawyers a bad name. He is an abomination to his profession.

He took up the case to defend the illegal regime and then was appointed S-G in July 2007:

Asked if he had any qualms about taking a role in the military Government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Mr Pryde said his position was not political.

"I am a lawyer and it's as a public servant really. I provide legal advice to the Attorney-General. It's really a lawyer-client relationship."
"It's a good opportunity for me personally."

What an evil fucking piece of shit. What a venal arsehole of the first order. He deserves to be summarily executed and/or tortured in the same way other victims of the military have under the aegis of his protection - that is the fate he courts. Let that day come soon.

As a New Zealand citizen, Mr Pryde cannot be banned from entering New Zealand under travel sanctions imposed on Fijian officials by the Government in Wellington

Well strip him of his NZ citizenship then. Now. Forthwith. He's made his bed in Fiji and he should lie in it.

From one of the few news outlets still operating in Fiji - and no doubt someone who will be prosecuted under his name should they ever be captured:
This is the man who ran out of words when his counter argument for a stay order at the Qarase vs Frank & Co.s appeals court hearing was flung back at him by the three judges.

His face was red and his voice loud but shaky as he threw his weak trump card down.

Now that he is officially back with the new order crowd, one can easily predict what to expect from this clown Pryde - he will be back with a more vengeful and vindictive heart.

So, he's a shit lawyer, arguing a shit case for a shit regime. He loses. He's out. They stage another coup. Then he's back in again. What a sick joke. He acts against the rule of law and yet assumes the office of Solicitor-General!? Sickening.

Fiji Attorney-General's Office

His immediate boss - the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the real power behind the throne in the regime. I suspect he is the major influence here. He is the one directing the legal anarchy behind the scenes. He is a slimy character.


2million - 7.5 million global dead prediction from Swine Flu

BREAKING NEWS Health officials have confirmed they are investigating a further 56 cases of suspected swine flu in New Zealand in addition to the 10 Rangitoto College students still awaiting their results.

The new cases all involve people who have visited Mexico or the United States in the last few weeks and who have presented with flu-like symptoms.

The World Health Organisation has escalated its handling of the outbreak, moving from a phase three to a phase four plan. It also announced it has started work on a vaccine

Cost of bad pandemic put at $24b
A severe influenza pandemic could deliver a $24 billion hit to the economy, the Treasury estimates. After the 2006 bird flu scare, a Treasury paper, using the infection and mortality rates of the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, estimated a severe pandemic could wipe up to 10 per cent off gross domestic product, equivalent to up to $16 billion. Over four years estimated losses would accumulate to about 10 per cent or 15 per cent of one year's gdp. About 40 per cent of the population would be infected and 2 per cent of those would die; equivalent to about 35,000 people. In a typical year about 5 per cent of adults and 20 per cent of children suffer from an influenza-like illness. The impact of a less severe pandemic, similar to those in 1958 and 1967, would cut gdp by up to 2.1 per cent in the first year, roughly the impact of a typical business cycle downturn. "Although the economic effects may be dwarfed by the social and human costs of death and illness, it is still important to evaluate how a pandemic may affect the economy so as to guide policy interventions to lessen the economic impact."

Watching sky news and their expert on the virus from Geneva suggests a worst case scenario (the virus is mutating fast so they say this could go either way at this stage) will be a global death rate of anything between 2million and 7.5million. That's a lot of people for us to lose within 3 months (that's how fast they predict the virus will spread around the planet and burn out), and it may be the social tears in the social fabric that are most damaging. The interesting issue as far as I can tell about this virus is that it still isn't killing anyone outside of Mexico, so the virus has either encubated in Mexico and is the new strain or it was the old strain which has evolved into something less lethal.

Shepard Smith Fox News F-bomb

We all appreciate how much I hate Fox News, but there are moments even their reporters can't put up with the bullshit excuses that Whaleoil are prepared to use to defend torture, Shepard Smith - I salute you!

nz blogosphere - top 20

The top 20 for the nz blogosphere rankings are now loaded into the side bar. There is little change at the top, but a significant tightening and competition either side of #20 has occurred.

Poneke's dalliance with going private was disastrous for his traffic, but handy in opening up a spare slot in the top 20 for March. Looking at his stats he hit rock bottom just before he relented and made it publicly accessible again this month - going a few days with zero visitors. People are not prepared to go beyond the barrier. They will put up with small type, annoying ads, harsh colour schemes, but they will not tolerate having to sign up and sign in. People like the content to be freely and readily available - he's certainly proved that point. I expect he'll be back up there somewhere in the next survey.

The full list will be coming out shortly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

4 - seems like 40

The first post on this blog was four years ago today and concludes with this statement:

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.

This kaupapa has served as the general editorial policy of this blog and will continue to do so. This is an anti-conservative position, but it does not prescribe any specific political or ideological doctrine beyond that. While it may be tempting to describe the blog and its authors as conventionally "progressive" this alignment does not accommodate all our views.
(Technical issues with the archiving of the post have since left the date a day out and misstates the author - if you go to it now).

I established the Tumeke.org website for an online magazine Tumeke! in February 2004 - itself an idea in development from a few years before (as a print concept). And yes it's all very early Simpsons.This was a low key entry to the internet and not much content was generated in the first year. Then I got pissed off at the Sir Humphrey's blog crowd (since schisming into No Minister and NZ Conservative) over their Iraq belligerence, but found the only way to rebut them in their comments section, at the time, was if I had a one myself. So I started the Tumeke! blog.

Mr Bradbury began his occasional guest posts just a couple of months later.
After the sedition trial result and my subsequent imprisonment in mid-2006 Mr Bradbury had to step in as acting blog editor. During this time I continued to write about my jail experiences and he posted them up - resulting initially in a political and media storm - one that did us no harm as far as traffic was concerned. Mr Bradbury set a cracking pace and produced a huge output covering many issues over this period and the blog became somewhat of a staple of the blogosphere audience's daily read.

After being released the following year I gave the blog a spruce up and we went from having perhaps the most out-dated blog roll to the best - launching the nz blogosphere project in the 2008 New Year. The blog and the blog rankings began taking up so much time that the other Tumeke! channels were never really formed or fully operational the way they were intended to be.
In early 2008 we were joined by our mutual friend Ben Thomas - then political editor of the NBR - who had to abandon blogging (or cross-posting) for a job with the new Attorney-General after National won the election (the move being one of the worst kept secrets of the press gallery). Not long after Mr Thomas joined us we were fortunate enough to have media and film studies lecturer and sometime comrade of Auckland University days, Phoebe Fletcher, start blogging - adding her flavour to the mix.

That first post - now one of 4,450 - seems so long ago.

Community boards should administer pokies funds - not Minister's chums

Earlier this month I posted on the Tory chums in gaming machine corruption acquiescence - that is to say Richard Worth being the Internal Affairs Minister and his legal colleague and ex-National Minister Paul East being the head of the gaming machine lobby (Charity Gaming Association). My solution is to devolve the money raised in the community by pokies direct to (shock, horror)... the community boards. A good place to start implementing that is in the new Auckland super city legislation.
ODT reporting the CEO of the lobby defending the rort:

"We don't support wholesale changes. While a centralised grant distribution would look attractive, it would not be responsive to local communities."

The cheek of these people knows no bounds. They are the beneficiaries of an effectively centralised system operated by themselves that lets them devolve money away from communities. Fuck what the CEO of Pokies Inc does or does not support - these guys operate a scam. To use "local communities" as any defence to what they do is hypocrisy. They believe it is their right to determine where the money goes!? It's not their money - but they most certainly act as though it is (see post link for the paper trail). And the governments have just let them get away with it. Why? A mix of political donations and stupidity.

The whole system is a scam from one end to the other. The politically connected lobbyists, the dodgy pubs and their kick-backs, the racing industry... Incredibly rich therefore is their sudden concern for "local communities" - coming from the group that has manipulated the system so they can send money from the local community in one place to the pockets of the wealthy horse racing fraternity at the other end of the country.

"Responsive to local communities" would mean all the money made off (non-casino) pokies inside the area of a community board is to be remitted to and administered by the local community board and the grants distributed to groups who operate in the community board area. Simple. If what these people say is true then they would have no objection to that, would they?

But they will object vehemently of course because they are liars who stand to lose money from the scams they are able to get away with at the moment.

However, let's see what the Minister's meetings with lobbyists and the "industry" turns out. I do not detect any public pressure on Worth to fix the situation, there should be.

Mt Albert – Labour, Greens and National

[UPDATE-- 2:10PM:
Labour launches Mt Albert by-election website.


Goff thinks fresh face has winning edge
Labour leader Phil Goff says his party's bid to keep the Mt Albert seat in the coming byelection will be stronger with fresh faces. He made the comment yesterday after the eight Labour candidates vying for Labour selection this Sunday faced their first meeting with local members.

Hmmm, this byelection is looking like it will be a nasty affair – for the Nats, to rob Labour of Helen’s own electorate would be the sweetest victory, for the Greens an electorate seat would finally mean the will-they, won’t-they 5% threshold fears would be overcome and for Labour this could be their fight back for the next election as the economy turns sour and turns sour fast.

NATIONAL: While head office may want the very electable and competent Melissa Lee, the local office is dominated by crazy Ravi Musuku who made himself appear a wee bit wide eyed when breathlessly telling reporters last election that he and John Key could solve crime if they only both went to the Prisons and preached the gospel of Christ. I’m not sure why John Key turned down his offer, but it gives a gleam of how much power Ravi has amassed in an electorate National have never bothered with, and now that they are, they are finding him harder to get rid of than syphilis. If Ravi runs, it will be a farce, if Melissa runs they have a narrow chance to win in a split race between the Greens and Labour, but that is their only chance, the recession will start to bite in June and the fears that the country is sinking while John Key goes about privatizing the lifeboats will be a much more solid theme.

GREENS: Smart money from the Greens, but they are buying a fight that will get nasty very quickly, and the question is can they take a punch? The stance on no new roading is smart and using the Super City representation as leverage is smart money too, but the major theme of this byelection will be the economy and how rapidly NZ is sinking. By buddying up with the Nats the Greens can be painted as no longer an opposition party, and while things get rapidly worse the only legitimate opposition to the direction the country is falling into under the leadership of Joyful John and Grumpy Bill becomes Labour be default. Keith Locke looked very sure of Russell standing when he was on Q+A last week so they understand the significance a win in Mt Albert could give them, but can Mr Canberra sell himself to Mt Albert?

LABOUR: Need to come out swinging, they need to viciously attack the Greens as being part of the Government, and sell the idea that Mt Albert residents get to send this Government (and this Governments proxies) a message ranging from local Super City representation to national issues on the privatization direction of National/ACT. Labour are scared, that’s apparent by the fact they let those smug little fuckers on Whaleoil and Kiwiblogh dictate the selection process by throwing up the Tizard back card, and Labour have a right to be scared, IF National or the Greens win this, it’s Phil’s leadership that will be questioned – Labour have to dump the ‘why didn’t we win’ navel gazing bullshit (btw – you lost because instead of challenging bullshit talkback redneck nanny state mythology you tried to manage it, meaning you fucking stood for nothing which is why so many Labour voters in Auckland didn’t bother voting leading to the second worst electoral turn out ever) and start to fire up about the disintegration of the State and the genuine pain these National/ACT policies are bringing. Whoever is managing Phil should be trying to reawaken the social democrat passion he sparked up on Q+A, and a fresh faced candidate aiding that discussion could be Labour’s redemption. Less Tub, more thumping!

Byelections are usually a message to the incumbent Government, and in a months time we can expect the economic recession to get much more tangibly worse, and the idea that this Government is setting the country up for privatization as a response to that crises is the theme Labour need to adopt that give them a unique voice over the Greens who can be painted as within the National tent.

Hypocrisy of American waterboarding

Here is my problem with the hypocrisy of American waterboarding, beyond the fact that such torture doesn’t actually provide anyone with any real information, beyond the fact that ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ can’t be defended by torture beyond whatever jaw dropping bullshit defense an apologist like Cameron Slater at Whaleoil manages to scrape together to defend torture – beyond all that which makes torture totally unjustifiable is the hypocrisy.

What did America do to Japanese interrogators who waterboarded American GIs for information on a weapon of mass destruction (America of course ended up using 2 nuclear weapons of mass destruction on the Japanese, so their paranoia was actually a lot more justified than American paranoia post 9/11). What did America do to those Japanese interrogators who waterboarded American GI’s? They executed them for torture, here we are now with the Americans DOING THE EXACT SAME THING which they executed Japanese interrogators for, and what’s the response? A half hearted ‘we’re looking forward’ – well looking forward is all well and good but that comes second to actually learning the mistake, transparent justice and punishment of those who allowed ‘simply following orders’ to become a defense.

Democracy and Freedom are strengthened by the prosecution of those who torture, it is weakened by defending those who torture.

Has Salinger been sacked to gag climate change?

Jim Salinger: from praise to packing his bags
Sacked climate scientist Jim Salinger's employers praised him for being the public "face of Niwa" only 18 months ago. However, last week, Salinger was told by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) to pack his bags, apparently for doing what he was congratulated for - talking to the media.

With a greenwash National/ACT Government in power, gutting the RMA pretending to cut red tape when it really burns green protections, burning the ETS and setting up a Climate Denial Select Committee to investigate the ‘science’ behind global warming shows a very clear swing away from regarding global warming as a real threat that demands urgent action to something National/ACT intend to drown quietly with rising sea levels.

Seeing as we have adopted Dick Cheney’s private prison system, the Halliburton method of privatizing and influencing the military and adopting education for army service, is National/ACT now adopting the Bush strategy to gag and censor Climate Change scientists?

BTW - does it concern anyone else in the wake of this move that NIWA just happen to be a half owner in a coal company? NIWA has interests in a company that is a major contributor to green house gases that create global warming and NIWA silence one of their most respected voices on global warming.

Pigs fly (remembering the last US military swine flu outbreak)

Swine flu is here
Ten Auckland pupils are likely to have contracted swine flu, tests have found. Health Minister Tony Ryall said last night that there had been 10 positive results from pupils of Rangitoto College who were part of a school party that returned on Saturday from Mexico, where swine influenza has killed more than 80 people.

Well at some time we were due for another pandemic weren’t we folks, the joy of evolution means that viruses are always out there trying to come up with a new concoction we have no immunity to, the question of course is if this is the next lethal strain that will hit us as hard as the infamous 1918 influenza and how much reaction it demands.

While we scramble to come up with answers, let’s not forget the last time swine flu hit with the US military as the source…

March 24, 1976: Ford Orders Swine-Flu Shots for All
1976: President Gerald Ford orders a nationwide vaccination program to prevent a swine-flu epidemic.

Ford was acting on the advice of medical experts, who believed they were dealing with a virus potentially as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic.

The virus surfaced in February at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis told his drill instructor that he felt tired and weak, although not sick enough to skip a training hike. Lewis was dead with 24 hours.

The autopsy revealed that Lewis had been killed by "swine flu," an influenza virus originating in pigs. By then several other soldiers had been hospitalized with symptoms. Government doctors became alarmed when they discovered that at least 500 soldiers on the base were infected without becoming ill.

It recalled 1918, when infected soldiers returning from the trenches of World War I triggered a contagion that spread quickly around the world, killing at least 20 million people. Fearing another plague, the nation's health officials urged Ford to authorize a mass inoculation program aimed at reaching every man, woman and child. He did, to the tune of $135 million ($500 million in today's money).

Mass vaccinations started in October, but within weeks reports started coming in of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease, right after taking the shot. Within two months, 500 people were affected, and more than 30 died. Amid a rising uproar and growing public reluctance to risk the shot, federal officials abruptly canceled the program Dec. 16.

In the end, 40 million Americans were inoculated, and there was no epidemic. A later, more technically advanced examination of the virus revealed that it was nowhere near as deadly as the 1918 influenza virus. The only recorded fatality from swine flu itself was the unfortunate Pvt. Lewis.

Hat Tip: Luke

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pandemic? When pig 'flu flies...

[UPDATE-- 9:00PM:
TV3 just had the Health Minister on concerned that the pig 'flu is being carried by school kids back from a trip to Mexico.
Updated map of the spread via: Aotearoa: a wider perspective
RNZ now reporting:
Ministry of Health officials say there is no guarantee these students have the swine influenza, which is thought to have killed 81 people in Mexico, but they consider it likely. All precautions are being taken to allow for this.

Mr Ryall said "I am advised 10 students have tested positive for Influenza A, and these results will now be sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Melbourne to ascertain whether it is the H1N1 swine influenza." H1N1 influenza is a subset of influenza A.
None of the affected patients are considered seriously ill, and most are on the road to recovery.

With modern air travel bringing diverse populations into contact with each other so quickly this influenza strain could already be airborne.

WHO statement regarding the yellow alert:
WHO is coordinating the global response to human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) and monitoring the corresponding threat of an influenza pandemic.
The world is presently in phase 3: a new influenza virus subtype is causing disease in humans, but is not yet spreading efficiently and sustainably among humans.

Xinhua reporting far more quickly and accurately about pig 'flu in North America than it did about bird 'flu in it's own backyard:

The WHO is sounding the alarm because it is striking healthy people not normally victims of 'flu and deaths have resulted in Mexico (that's the way I've read this report):

24 April 2009 -- The United States Government has reported seven confirmed human cases of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in the USA (five in California and two in Texas) and nine suspect cases. All seven confirmed cases had mild Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), with only one requiring brief hospitalization. No deaths have been reported.

The Government of Mexico has reported three separate events. In the Federal District of Mexico, surveillance began picking up cases of ILI starting 18 March. The number of cases has risen steadily through April and as of 23 April there are now more than 854 cases of pneumonia from the capital. Of those, 59 have died. In San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, 24 cases of ILI, with three deaths, have been reported. And from Mexicali, near the border with the United States, four cases of ILI, with no deaths, have been reported.

Of the Mexican cases, 18 have been laboratory confirmed in Canada as Swine Influenza A/H1N1, while 12 of those are genetically identical to the Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses from California.

The majority of these cases have occurred in otherwise healthy young adults. Influenza normally affects the very young and the very old, but these age groups have not been heavily affected in Mexico.

Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern.

The Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses characterized in this outbreak have not been previously detected in pigs or humans. The viruses so far characterized have been sensitive to oseltamivir, but resistant to both amantadine and rimantadine.

[UPDATE-- 3:10PM:
Sunday Times now reporting:

The British Airways crew member was taken to Northwick Park hospital in Harrow, northwest London, after flight BA242 landed at 2pm.

“The patient was admitted directly to a side room and the hospital is scrupulously following infection control procedures to ensure there is no risk to any other individual in the hospital,” the hospital said.

The Port Health Authority, the agency responsible for disease containment at the UK’s borders, is asking crew on flights into Britain from Mexico to report any passengers suffering from coughs and sneezes to medics.
Avian flu, which has killed 250 people since 2003 and sparked the last pandemic threat, is caused by influenza viruses adapted to infect birds. Swine flu is caused by viruses adapted to pigs. Big problems arise when human and animal flu viruses mix and mutate into new organisms that can spread through the population.

The fact that most of the Mexican dead were aged between 25 and 45 rather than being elderly or very young is seen as a particularly worrying sign. The first victims of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 were also healthy young adults.

The symptoms of swine flu in people include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, coughing and sore throat.

Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota, said new cases were probably already incubating around the world.

Tamiflu, an antiviral drug used against bird flu, is said to be effective against the new strain.

Tamiflu, eh - what's the bet all the (expensive) NZ stock acquired during the avian 'flu scare expired last month? --UPDATE ENDS]

Q + A: The Grand Right Wing Conspiracy

The grinning and dancing Ferengi, Rodney Hide, Minister of Social Spending Strangulation made it very clear on Q + A that while the Grand Right Wing Conspiracy had been magnanimously put off till next year, it was most certainly under way.

TABOR the ratchet strangulation legislation that has paralyzed Colerado while out sourcing to private companies the public services TABOR slices off, should make ACTs corporate sponsors squeal with glee.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yuan zone - going for gold

China has just revealed that it holds a thousand tons of gold - the 5th biggest hoarder in the world. China is diversifying their reserve assets away from the inherently shaky US dollar and into other currencies... and gold.
This is on order to prepare for the day - not too far distant now - when they de-couple from the fixed 6.8 Yuan to the USD exchange rate - on Chinese terms and at China's timing. Their establishment of a Yuan settlement system for overseas trade in some of their Southern cities is the start of creating a Yuan zone in the same way the Americans have done in their sphere of influence. Tellingly the Brazilians and the Argentines have this month moved to settle in their own trade in their currencies rather than in USD - two days later it was announced the Argentines had signed up for a Yuan facility. These are all related moves.

It has been very clear since the Chinese authorities released their plans in the Christmas holiday (so that it wouldn't upset the apple cart) that they intent to have their money as a reserve currency. They tried to edge it in at the IMF last month under the guise of a new multi-currency based settlement unit, but the Americans rebuffed them. The pressure is now on - since they met that initial resistance - to go about it in other ways.

The Economist has some positive news about the capacity of the Chinese economy and says their form of state ownership or control of capital and business may have advantages over the West's model as far as getting value for stimulus spending is concerned.

China’s economy is less dependent on exports than popularly believed. Exports account for nearly 40% of GDP but they use a lot of imported components, and only make up about 18% of domestic value-added. Fewer than 10% of jobs are in the export sector.
If a collapse in domestic demand led China’s economy down, it can also help lead it up again. Not only is China’s fiscal stimulus one of the biggest in the world this year, but the government’s ability to “ask” state-owned firms to spend and state banks to lend means that the government’s measures are being implemented more rapidly than elsewhere. To take one example, railway investment has tripled over the past year.

Only about 30% of the government’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) infrastructure package is being funded by the government. Most of the rest will be financed by bank lending, which had already soared by 30% in the 12 months to March, twice its pace last summer.

On the military front the Chinese projection of power in its region (the latent Yuan zone) is being boosted by amphibious attack ships and an inevitable Chinese aircraft carrier - the only possible use of which will be to exercise strength outside their region:

The Qingdao review did include an interesting addition to China’s fleet, a Yuzhao-class amphibious-assault ship, which could be used to dispatch troops and helicopters over long distances. One Western diplomat says he sees its deployment as potentially useful for settling scores in the South China Sea. The contrast between the display of such weaponry and China’s rhetoric about harmony he calls “a bit of schizophrenia”. China’s self-image as a responsible great power was also on show, however, with a large new hospital ship, useful for humanitarian missions. Three vessels have just completed an anti-piracy tour in the Gulf of Aden. This continuing mission is China’s first active naval deployment beyond the Pacific.

Chinese leaders chose not to spoil the jolly mood in Qingdao by talking about aircraft carriers. But officials have dropped several recent hints that China is close to announcing it will acquire its first one.


Friday, April 24, 2009

South African Elections - results

Table from the official IEC website. (click to enlarge) Turnout is very high - over 80% in some provinces.

The ANC (top of table) on the edge of that critical 66% needed to change the constitution unilaterally. The old Afrikaaner die-hards (bottom of table) can barely pull 1% of the total vote - of course until 1994 when only people like them could vote their policies were in the electoral majority. It appears 99% of the South African population has moved on. What's the "plus" element of the Vryheidsfront Plus anyway? Even more racist than before! Are they promising Apartheid Plus? It was bad enough as Apartheid Klaasik v.1985 despite what the now disillusioned Ismail Ryklieff (literally a casualty of Apartheid) might confess to Mike McRoberts.

TV3's roving Anchor must have watched the notorious "Trojan Horse" massacre on TV as a youth as I did to have made this outrage the central part of his excellent report the other day. I must have been 11 when I watched that on the news and it was something I will never forget. Of all the evil ever televised from Apartheid-era South Africa - pass books, segregation paraphernalia, dogs, necklacing, curfews, sjamboks etc. - the worst was that event.

A large truck goes down a street where vehicles had been reported attacked by people who are protesting, mainly kids, in this black or coloured suburban zone. Protesting no doubt about the existence of these zones and the division of the county by the Afrikaaners). The TV report at the time explained that it goes through unmolested. It then returns after going around the block to drive through again and the people on the street (because of the fact it had returned was given as a possible reason) start throwing stones at it. As soon as the second stone hit the truck, out from the top of the deck appear about a dozen police who start shooting immediately with shotguns into the dozens of children and people in the vicinity. Shooting at everything that moved with shotguns until they had no ammunition left. A police provocation, ambush and massacre. And then I think they just drove off... leaving three dead and numerous wounded - I've just looked at that site, one of those killed was 11. Horrifying. No wonder it made such a lasting impression. White people shooting coloured and black children in the name of the government - and a great many white New Zealanders at the time supported recognising and normalising relations with that government and even more supported hosting their rugby teams. From that site:

There was an inquest into the incident in March 1988, at which the magistrate ruled that the actions of the police were unreasonable, and the 13 men were found responsible for the deaths. The case was then referred to the Attorney General of the Cape who refused to prosecute. The family of the deceased made South African legal history by launching their own private prosecution. They were however unsuccessful and the thirteen men in question were acquitted in December 1989.

Nelson Mandela walked free from prison after more than 27 years inside, just two months later. These scum never served a day.

I'm sure Mike must have seen it at the time, and felt the same I do the way he told it, but he's too old school to indulge in any personal story-telling on network news.

I find it ironic that South Africa was the only large country in the world to go straight to colour TV without ever having black and white.

South Africa Tubemeke in the sidebar.

Greens put Norman up for Mt Albert

Before we go any further there is a selection process - so he needs to be confirmed officially - but he's the Greens' man in Mt Albert. Norman Nominates - from Frogblog:

Russel has described himself as the “underdog”, and said he did not believe National could win the seat. The Herald reports:

He said National had ruined its chances with plans to “bulldoze their way through the electorate”… and the ramming through of the Auckland governance changes.

These are the issues that Phil Goff in his letter to the electorate this week said Labour would make their own: The SH20 motorway tunnel and the Auckland super city and in particular getting a referendum held. This focus and common front of policies will put a lot of pressure on the National candidate.

Norman is most certainly the underdog. I don't think he has the personality to get much above the 11% party vote they got in the electorate last year no matter how much grass roots support is available to be tapped in the area. The Greens have massive potential in Auckland, but have gone soft. The biggest strategic failure of the last two elections was not targetting Auckland Central - now it's gone blue instead of Green.

He risks damaging himself as leader rather than raising their profile if - if - he get's creamed. The Greens need that back-stop electorate seat guarantee of not being wiped out if they duck under 5%, so a co-leader running makes sense... if they can win or poll respectably. I can't see how Russel can win and I'm not confident he can get over 15%. That 15% would probably be enough to get the National candidate in though. It's a gutsy call, but one they have to make to show they are serious. The electorate awaits.

[UPDATE: The Green's take on the SH20 motorway issue is not to build it (tunnel or otherwise) at all:

Greens website:
The transport dilemma is a classic example, said Dr Norman: “The old parties are arguing over two bad ideas in Waterview. They want to either bulldoze a suburb or blow $3 billion. The Green Party offers a better solution. We would fix the public transport system first, relieve congestion and give Aucklanders a faster, cheaper way to get to work and the airport.”

That's a good point of difference with Labour in the campaign. What can we get for that $3b? --UPDATE ENDS]