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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Matariki 2009: Maori New Year calendar - Observations

The Maori Party Bill to make Matariki a public holiday and the official Maori New Year was provocative. It was not drawn so will probably go back in the private members' ballot next year. But when they use the modern Western calendar to fix the date in relation to the lunar cycle (they say the new moon that rises after the first moon in May) rather than use the Solstice it means it is not truly tikanga Maori. It's a convenient fix. It's relationship with the heliacal rise of Matariki in late May is probably why they set the date in May and not in June, so that it can be from 30th May - 28th June (I may be off a day).

Matariki is May/June. It is here and it is in Tahiti. The New Year is prefaced by the late May observations of Matariki and the following moon, Pipiri - the first moon - rises in June. Pipiri is called the June month as that is the month in which it rises (and can go over into July).

The 13th or zero month might be Matariki month - which will arise in May at the start of the Matariki observations at the end of the year. [UPDATE-- 9:30PM Tuesday 30/06/2009: This month is often referred to as Te tahi-o-Pipiri - the first Pipiri (it will be called "Matariki" in the table below to denote the extra status of the month and its association with May - rather than June).

Sir Peter Buck on the Polynesian Rakahangan 13-month cycle and his remarks - some pertaining to NZ:

Though Pipiri was the 1st month in the Maori calendar and the 13th month in the Rakahangan, they were both months evidently in the lunar month of May-June. In the Rakahangan calendar the rising of the Pleiades ended in the Pipiri month, and in the Mataatua calendar of New Zealand it commenced the Pipiri. It is significant that the Maori 13th month was also known as Te tahi-o-Pipiri.
The principle is similar to the New Zealand method of adding a 13th month when the Pleiades do not rise in the 12th month of the cycle.
The Rakahangan information establishes a hitherto unrecorded method of correlating the lunar cycle with the Pleiades year. It is known from various writings that the lunar cycle was used throughout Polynesia and that in most areas the appearance of the Pleiades in the morning or evening sky gave the sign for the commencement of the new year. None of the early writers who had the opportunity of obtaining information from Polynesian astronomers have recorded how the Polynesians corrected their annual lunar cycle to prevent a dislocation of the seasons. Best (2) has recorded that the Maori year commenced with the first new moon after the morning rising of the Pleiades. He recorded lists of cycles of 12 months and some of 13 months. Though he did not follow the matter up, it may be inferred from his work that when the Pleiades did not rise in the 12th lunar month of the cycle, the Maoris had to delay the commencement of the next cycle for a whole lunar month. This meant the addition of an extra lunar month to the 12-month cycle. The intercalation of a 13th month was decided not by mathematical calculations but by the simple rule that the new year could not start until the first new moon after the morning rising of the Pleiades.
The Rakahangan system of the constant split 13th month is more accurate than the intercalated 13th month attributed to New Zealand, but there are indications that the split 13th month was also known in New Zealand.
It is clear that the whakaauanga or morning rising of the Pleiades in June was the guide to the commencement of the year, in the month of Whakaau. The morning rising of the Pleiades is the only definite sign given by which the annual cycle of months could be inaugurated. Other stars are mentioned with each month, but they were merely seen in those months and there are no details concerning their appearance or disappearance as with the Pleiades. No mention is made of the Pleiades in the November-December period, so that the evening rising of that constellation was of no significance in the Rakahangan calendar. After Whakaau was inaugurated by the morning rising of the Pleiades on approximately June 5, the tau marama or sequence of months followed automatically with the rising of each new moon. From an astronomical point of view, the morning rising of the Pleiades in June is much more definitely defined than the evening rising in November. In May the Pleiades disappear and cannot be seen at any time of the night. Their reappearance in June in the eastern sky before sunrise is thus the reappearance of that which was lost and is hailed with singing and dancing.

A solar fix for the lunar conundrum could be thus:

Maori New Year

Tikanga Maramataka (Method for determining a Maori Calendar)
— based on the lunar and solar cycles:

0. Matariki hails the new year.
1. The ascending, new or full moon at the Winter Solstice (Gregorian calendar: 20/21 June) is Pipiri.
2. Pipiri is the first moon of the Maori lunar calendar year.
3. The intercalary '13th' or zero month must be added after the last month (Haratua) —
  • after two consecutive ascending, new or full moons (Pipiri) at the Solstice, or
  • after a descending (Pipiri) moon at Solstice that follows an ascending new or full moon (Pipiri) at the Solstice.
    4. The intercalary month may be considered both a 13th month (as it signals the end of the year) and a zero month (as a prelude to the new year (Pipiri) moon.
    5. The next moon after the intercalary month will be Pipiri (even if it is new or post-solstice)
    6. Observations may be made of Matariki before each New Year, starting —
  • the day of the new moon of the intercalary month when an intercalary month (19/20 May - 31 May), or
  • the day before a full lunar cycle (30 days) before the Winter solstice (22/23 May),
    and ending —
  • the day after the new year (Pipiri) moon when an intercalary month (20 June - 30 June), or
  • the day after the last day on which a Pipiri Moon could possibly rise (30 June)
  • 13th/zero months marked "Matariki" from new moon to next new (Pipiri) moon
  • Moon phase source (may be +/-1 day in this reckoning)
  • Full/new/ascending or descending moons at the Solstice 20/21 June.
    *Italics* represent alternative first moon according to Rahui Katene's draft Bill for the Maori Party (using the day after the first moon after the moon that rises in May)
    Calendar using the above method:

    Dates of Matariki and Maori New Year

    2007 17 June ascending
    2008 5 June descending
    2009 25 May - 23 June Matariki.

    Pipiri post-solstice: 24 June
    152KT151KT Years of the Kingitanga (year 0 = 1857/58)[Correction: The Kingitanga 150th anniversary stamps were issued last year - May 2008. But 2nd May 2009 was the Kingitanga 150 as well according to the Office of the King and Tainui.]
    170TW Years of the Treaty of Waitangi (Year 0=1839/40)
    367NZ Years since Tasman (Year 0=1642/43)

    368NZ 2010 13 June ascending
    369NZ 2011 2 June descending
    370NZ 2012 21 May - 19 June Matariki. full/ascending: 20 June
    371NZ 2013 9 June ascending
    372NZ 2014 29 May - 28 June Matariki. Post solstice: 29 June
    373NZ 2015 17 June ascending
    374NZ 2016 6 June full
    375NZ 2017 25 May - 24 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 25 June
    376NZ 2018 14 June ascending
    377NZ 2019 4 June descending
    378NZ 2020 22 May - 21 June Matariki. New/post-solstice: 22 June
    379NZ 2021 11 June ascending
    380NZ 2022 *31 May* 30 May - 29 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 30 June
    381NZ 2023 19 June ascending
    382NZ 2024 7 June ascending/full
    383NZ 2025 27 May - 25 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 26 June
    384NZ 2026 16 June ascending
    385NZ 2027 5 June descending
    386NZ 2028 24 May - 22 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 23 June
    387NZ 2029 13 June ascending
    388NZ 2030 2 June descending
    389NZ 2031 21 May - 20 June Matariki. New/ascending: 21 June
    390NZ 2032 9 June ascending
    391NZ 2033 28 May - 26 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 27 June
    392NZ 2034 17 June ascending
    393NZ 2035 7 June descending
    394NZ 2036 25 May - 24 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 25 June
    395NZ 2037 14 June ascending
    396NZ 2038 4 June descending
    397NZ 2039 23 May - 21 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 22 June
    398NZ/200TW 2040 10 June ascending
    399NZ 2041 30 May - 28 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 29 June
    400NZ 2042 18 June ascending
    2043 8 June ascending
    2044 27 May - 25 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 26 June
    2045 16 June ascending
    2046 5 June descending
    2047 24 May - 23 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 24 June
    2048 12 June ascending
    2049 1 June descending
    2050 20 May - 19 June Matariki. new/ascending: 20 June
    2051 9 June ascending
    2052 28 May - 26 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 27 June
    2053 17 June ascending
    2054 7 June full/descending
    2055 26 May - 25 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 26 June
    2056 14 June ascending
    200KT 2057 3 June descending
    2058 22 May - 21 June Matariki. New/ascending: 22 June
    2059 11 June ascending
    2060 29 May - 28 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 29 June
    2061 18 June ascending
    2062 8 June ascending
    2063 28 May - 26 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 27 June
    2064 15 June ascending
    2065 5 June descending
    2066 24 May - 22 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 23 June
    2067 12 June ascending
    2068 1 June descending
    2069 20 May - 19 June Matariki. Ascending: 20 June ascending
    2070 9 June ascending
    2071 29 May - 27 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 28 June

    Katene's Bill, curiously, uses the Roman Calendar:


    Make the last weekday in June the Maori New Year public holiday observation:

  • 30th June is the last possible date for the Pipiri moon to rise.
  • The moon seen on those three possible days of 28,29,30th June must be Pipiri (the next, 2nd moon - Hongongoi - not being visible in any case until 1st or 2nd of July).
  • The First semester of most universities and the 2nd terms of most schools end within a week of this date - and their holidays/mid-year break begins.
  • The government's financial years - the Crown's fiscal years - end on the 30th June.
  • The last work day means there is no need for a "Mondayisation" (as I believe Katene's Bill has - not online, see above image) and there is scope for the day to fall so that it makes a long weekend or will fall to break up the week and create a short week or an opportunity to an early start to the break (if the 30th fell on a Wednesday or Thursday).

  • NZ Film Festival 2009 – Afghan Star

    The first time many young Afghan’s had ever voted was by text vote for Afghan Star, a Pop Idol-esk TV show on the endearingly modern Tolo TV: think TVNZ in the 80’s with less pastels. In the West these shows tend to have contestants that burn with the naked greed of celebrity, people you’d cross the street to avoid, but as we catch a glimpse of each Afghan contestant’s hell on earth set in a bombed out urban mud background, their wide eyed drive for existence beyond such a nightmare gives this doco a gravitas Simon Cowell fails to deliver.

    The Taliban weren’t big fans of art and banned dancing and singing which to a people as fond of the song as Afghans are based on the near hysteria the show caused in the country seems a bizarre and hateful form of torture the Taliban meted out to their own people. After such a cultural genocide, singing goes beyond musical expression, it in itself becomes a brave resistance to such terminal ignorance and the Afghan people leapt to the show with an enthusiasm reserved ironically for invaders meddling in Afghanistan.

    The songs of the finalists are all originals, memorable lyrics were, “The people yearn for reconstruction”, “I want to be famous” and my personal favourite, “The bend of your eyebrows are like a scorpion”.

    Scandal erupts near the end of the finals when one female contestant starts dancing a little during her song. A male contestant denounces her actions as not dear to the Afghan people, and the horror expressed by one of “what is she doing” as 21 year old Setara leaves the competition with a performance where she dances much more than she previously did sums up a shocked people. The public response was like Footlose meets Sharia law, the man on the street was explaining how her dancing effectively made her a ‘loose woman’. Nice to see that double standard sexism is a global movement, but a glorious 1980s Kabul University new wave electro band music video fronted by a singing short haired Afghan woman complete with neon pink shoulder pads reminds us that Afghanistan wasn’t always the stone aged hell it’s been bombed into with 1980 street shots showing women freely walking around minus Burka. The Ullema Council, a religious Islamic Council focused on repressing good times leans on Tolo TV to stop the dancing, but they courageously push onwards. A great doco.

    3 and-a-half Stars

    Afghan Star
    Afghanistan/UK 2008
    Director/Producer: Havana Marking

    Stuff I'm reading right now

    Interesting piece on US aid to Israel, and an analysis of Pakistan’s Ideological Blowback.

    The culture of Corporate Welfare slowly creeps back

    Private hospitals get greater public role
    Private hospitals are to be given a greater role in carrying out taxpayer-funded elective surgery under a Government plan to treat more patients. The aim is to get better prices by smoothing the flow of patients and increase the number treated. Private hospitals already do about 6 per cent - around 7000 patients a year - of the elective operations and investigations that are funded by district health boards and say they could do significantly more. In Auckland, nearly 11 per cent of DHBs' elective surgery and investigations such as colonoscopies were done by the private sector in the past financial year. Health Minister Tony Ryall said last night that the Government did not have a target amount of contracting-out. The intention was simply to increase the number of patients seen. Prime Minister John Key said health boards would be allowed to enter long-term contracts with private hospitals for elective surgery, rather than turning to them as a "last resort". He said the previous Labour Government would turn to the private sector only when it was trying to wipe its waiting lists for operations. This meant private hospitals sat dormant, and then once called upon in desperation were able to charge a premium for services. "As a general rule we are not trying to undermine the public sector, we are trying to complement it."

    That is exactly what National are trying to do, this policy will see it done. By paying more money to the Private Hospital industry, National are ripping off extra investment into Public Health. Ryall came to Health setting incredibly high expectations that the Public Sector couldn’t meet so that they would fail those expectations and give him the excuse to open the door to corporate medical giants eager to gobble up public money to their shareholders delight. Tapu Misa notes the same bullshit is happening in education with this Government handing over $35 million to their private school chums to keep those rich pricks afloat on public money….

    There's been no funding for an increase in student numbers, and the Government has been deaf to pleas from polytechnics and technical institutes to remove the enrolment cap that prevents their taking on more students. It's also signalled a $50 million cut to teacher staffing budgets for public schools from 2010, the equivalent of 700 teachers, according to John Minto of the Quality Public Education Coalition. Meanwhile, private schools, which educate 4 per cent of the country's students - including the PM's children - are being given an extra $35 million to make them "more affordable for parents". Education Minister Anne Tolley trumpets the Government's "commitment to strengthening the ladder of opportunity", while slashing the funding for the adult night classes relied on by some 200,000 people by more than 80 per cent. Bill English, in opposition, had once called them "a leg-up for people wanting to return to the education system", adding, "National supports these low-cost courses. The current system of night classes through schools works well and should not be tampered with".

    ...I’m not sure handing over public money to private companies, in effect corporate welfare was the ‘change’ NZers were looking for.

    National hands it over for Rupert Murdoch

    Labour keeping an eye on Sky
    Sky Television may have persuaded the Government to kill off a sweeping review of broadcasting regulations, but it still has some way to go to remove the threat to its business that could be posed by a returning Labour government. Labour broadcasting spokesman Brendon Burns says the Government has a "cosy relationship with Sky", and argues Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman's decision to terminate the review was based more on philosophy than fact. He has accused Dr Coleman of misrepresenting advice provided by Culture and Heritage Ministry officials when canning the review, kicked off by Labour in 2007. "If you look at our environment, it is the most unregulated broadcasting sector in the Western World. We have no real regulation of broadcasting, no `anti-syphoning' legislation, no cross-media ownership laws and no requirement for New Zealand content. "Dr Coleman's stated position is that consumers have never had so much choice, that there are 80 channels out there, mostly on the Sky platform. My question would be, does that deliver to all of the needs and aspirations of New Zealanders?"

    Well having been a broadcaster on Sky, I can safely say no. But the problem for small broadcasters was more to do with NZ on Air and their funding requirement that is set up for the big players as opposed to the small players who arguably are doing more than the broadcasting monoliths to “deliver all of the needs and aspirations of NZers”.

    Coleman doesn’t really seem to have a public position on Broadcasting, his policy before the election was 332 words long (that’s a text message, not a policy), and his first move other than banning any review was to hand over to Rupert Murdock at Sky TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 WITHOUT getting Prime for Freeview! It’s astounding that Coleman would hand over to Freeview’s competitor the two channels that make Freeview unique, yet NOT SEEK to gain Prime for Freeview. No one in the media has really questioned why National would bend over for Rupert Murdock and take it so royally, but it shows Coleman has no problems in denigrating Public Broadcasting for his corporate mates. It bodes ill for TVNZ remaining in public ownership and a total obliteration to Public Broadcasting in NZ.

    Bomber’s Blog – the war on News starts this Friday, 9.15pm Sky 89, Freeview 21 and Triangle.

    Pro-smack poster boy wants to get into politics

    'Not a test case, simply a child being punched'
    A District Court judge and police say the prosecution of a man who insisted he had flicked his son's ear, only later to be convicted of punching the child in the face, was never a test case for child smacking laws.

    My eyes are rolling, Jimmy Mason wants to ‘get into politics’ to ‘sort out’ the smacking issue. Couple of things here

    1: The pro-smacking lobby need to get a better poster boy
    2: Jimmy, stick to the music because punching your kid in the face and wanting a career in politics based on punching your kid in the face shows you still don’t seem to ‘get it’.
    3: This wasn’t a ‘test case’ to be used to rally parents for pro-smacking, Jimmy punched his son in the face. End of story.

    Look kids need discipline – CHRIST DO THEY NEED DISCIPLINE – but discipline comes in a thousand different ways not requiring you to kit your kid. All the examples the pro-smackers who want the legal right to belt their kids have come up with (Jimmy and the Dad who pushed his kid at a rugby game) have been Dad’s who have lost their temper with their kids and have lashed out. Well, don’t lash out, real bloody simple, but pro-smackers aren’t really defending these Dad’s ‘right’ to lash out, they want their God given right to discipline their kids a la spare the rod spoil the child. Problem for the pro-smackers is most NZers would recoil at religious doctrine being the deciding factor in physically hitting a child, hence the pro-smackers pretending this is about all parents to broaden the issue beyond their God bothering.

    How swift is too swift for justice?

    Law reform will lead to swift justice, Power says
    Simon Power Major changes to New Zealand's legal system that became law yesterday are the start of a modernisation of criminal justice in New Zealand, Justice Minister Simon Power says. Included in the changes are the removal of unanimous verdicts in jury trials and the doing away with witnesses giving evidence at pre-trial hearings such as depositions. From this week, it will no longer be necessary for all 12 jurors to agree on a verdict. Instead, 11 will be sufficient to ensure an acquittal or conviction. The other significant change will see evidence given at depositions - a hearing to determine if a case will go to trial - handed up in written form, instead of being heard orally.

    We all agree that Justice needs to happen fast. For the victim allowing justice delayed adds insult to injury, and for the criminal as well, the lesson that your actions have a direct consequence can only be taught if that in fact happens with an immediate trial and sentence handed out.

    Allowing mass delays in Justice is not beneficial to anyone, we all accept that, but the way you go about speeding things up is more Court rooms and more Court staff, I am very dubious about the ‘quality’ of Justice we are getting under National, because National’s desire for speed are driven by cost cutting not quality. Remember National wanted to dump jury’s altogether a couple of months ago, well that’s been tempered down to 11 person verdicts and changes to depositions evidence, neither of which seem to gain much speed.

    Lowering the threshold from 12 to 11 on a Jury with such little forethought and due purely because National are seeking to cut costs doesn’t bode well and streamlining the depositions hearings has the possible effect to simply suck a lot more innocent people into the grinder.

    At least National have dumped their desire to do away with Jury’s, but the Court will be out on these changes and any real speed they generate compared to costs in quality of justice.

    Monday, June 29, 2009


    Busy with the blogosphere, thus the random - uncredited - images.

    The Maramataka of Matariki has proven a competing puzzle over the last few days - trying to work out the rules surrounding the 13th month in the lunar calendar and the Matariki and how to align it all if possible. NZ blogosphere realignment underway.

    Don’t point guns at the Police

    Paraplegic killed by police after officer shot during siege
    A wheelchair-bound paraplegic was killed by police in Christchurch late last night after he shot a member of the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS). Police said the 40-year-old man was thought to have shot "in excess of 100 rounds of both shotgun and 308 into houses in the cul-de-sac where he lives" before being fatally shot. Inspector Rick Jury said that the man suffered from a head injury, was possibly suicidal, and that alcohol could have been involved in the incident. "He contacted family members today saying [Sunday] that he was suicidal but I understand he did make threats to police via the negotiating team who were in contact with him," Mr Jury said. Officers had rushed to Wadhurst Place in Burnside about 9pm after receiving reports that a man was firing a shotgun and a .308 rifle.

    You know me, I’m Mr Liberal but there really is a threshold and the threshold is when you point a gun at a cop. I give cops a lot of stick about most things, but on this there can be little sympathy, yes the guy is in a wheelchair with a head injury and was boozed up, but he not only shot round after round into neighbouring houses, he also shot a cop. You shoot at a cop and you give them zero options in response other than more force. It looks like our miserably funded mental health service has failed once again.

    Respects to Power

    Judges may get inquisitor role in sex-crime cases
    Justice Minister Simon Power has asked the Law Commission to investigate introducing a European-style inquisitorial justice system in sexual offending cases. Despite the outcry following the David Bain trial, Mr Power said he had no intention of overhauling the adversarial-style system used here where the role of the judge is essentially that of an impartial referee. But he said the inquisitorial system, where the judge is involved in collecting and determining the facts of the case, could have its uses in victim-intensive situations such as sexual offending and child abuse.

    Now while I am no great fan of Simon Power’s, let’s see, he has played up Prison being a 3 star hotel and adult Disneyland to the media induced crime frightened NZers more than any other politician and must share a large chunk of the responsibility for creating the shrill public discourse that calls only for the lynchmob AND he tried to have Tumeke shut down. That said, it’s good to see him being open to wanting changes within the system that he can clearly see are lacking. Would we accept an inquisitorial style for sex crimes and an adversarial style for everything else?

    Crime tax taxing

    Red tape will cost crime victims $7.3m
    More than half the money gained from the Government's $50 "offender levy" will be chewed up by administration costs before getting to the victims it is intended for. The levy will be paid by convicted offenders at sentencing and is forecast to collect $13.6 million in its first four years. But a Herald calculation based on Budget figures shows it will cost $7.3 million to set up and run over the same period. The money is to go into a victims' fund that will help with one-off expenses not covered by ACC or other state help, such as travel to court and additional counselling. Introducing the policy last year, Prime Minister John Key denied the levy would become just another unpaid fine. However, the $13.6 million it is forecast to collect is based on the assumption that only 69 per cent of offenders will pay.

    Yes, yes, we all knew this would be hard to administer and that bloody administration would chew up a chunk of it, and as much a critic as I am of this National/ACT regime, their tax on crime to go to victims is just. Christ knows that victims get bugger all nothing as it stands, and if the travel costs to and from Court can be covered for the victim, then it’s fitting that it comes out of the pocket of the people harming society rather than those who have been harmed.

    New rules for dole needed

    Economists: Ease rules on dole for couples
    Two economists are calling for a fundamental rewrite of New Zealand's welfare system because of the numbers of people being made redundant who can't get the dole because their partners are still working. Dr Susan St John of Auckland University and Keith Rankin of Unitec say the system is based on "outmoded social concepts" such as assuming that everyone lives in single-income families where dad goes out to work and mum stays home with the children. On this basis, the unemployment benefit is clawed back by 70c for every dollar earned above $80 a week by either the main earner or their partner. This means anyone with a partner earning more than $534 a week cannot get even a partial benefit. In Australia, the dole is reduced by only 60c for every dollar of a partner's income above A$387.50 ($485) a week, so a partial benefit is available until the partner earns A$1069 ($1340) a week.

    Ouch, these crazy old rules for the dole are inane, and it masks the real level of unemployment within society. The level of stress it also creates within that relationship relying on just one wage doesn’t bode well either, I didn’t realize the rules were so draconian, $534 a week isn’t enough to rule you out as needing help from unemployment. It’s rules like this that keep people desperate leading to worker exploitation, and with the unemployment rates only predicted to increase these issues on rates have to be fixed asap.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    National are asleep at the wheel

    Mortgagee sales reach 1-in-25 level
    GROWING NUMBERS of Kiwi homeowners are facing the prospect of handing over the house keys, with mortgagee sales now accounting for one in 25 property transactions.
    Figures released today by property information company Terralink show mortgagee sales hit 251 in April the highest monthly total in 15 years. In April last year there were just 90 forced sales. That means mortgagee sales accounted for just over 4% of the 6210 houses that sold in April. A year ago mortgagee sales represented just 2% of the total. This is the fifth month Terralink has released data on forced sales in New Zealand. The numbers have been consistently higher than the previous year, reflecting the increasing pressure homeowners are under as the recession bites. And there is no real sign of hope in the immediate future. Terralink managing director Mike Donald said mortgagee sales were hitting ordinary homeowners, and 36% of forced sales were driven by the major banks. He expects mortgagee numbers to keep increasing, especially as unemployment rises. "There's no slowing down 251 is a pretty strong increase and when you look at the curve from December it's still accelerating upwards. There is no sign of it abating." Treasury has forecast that house prices will fall 12% by March next year, identifying rising unemployment as a pressure factor. Latest data from Statistics New Zealand show unemployment has reached 5% and is widely predicted to reach 160,000 by the end of the year.

    Seeing as NZers have all signed up to guaranteeing the banks in the wake of the greedy American corporate meltdown, those who are now being thrown out of their homes by those very same banks must be swallowing a bitter pill as they get tossed onto the streets while Mr Bank chummies it up. Where is the ‘understanding’ that Gleeful John promised would come from his banking mates? In fact where is King John? Last week King John was desperately defending National’s incompetent handling of the employment situation that is seeing 1000+ NZers joining the dole each week (and which is only going to get worse and worse) by telling Monday’s press conference that he didn’t think the GDP rating due out on Friday would be –1 and that it would be much better. Roll around Friday and the GDP was –1, where was King John to explain the discrepancy between his Monday prediction and Friday’s reality? King John was no where to be seen.

    What I’m sick to death of hearing from pundits is this “NZERS WON’T BLAME THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECESSION BLAH BLAH BLAH” – dumb pundit, yes NZers won’t blame National or ACT for the global recession you morons but what the NZ public WILL BLAME NATIONAL AND ACT FOR is their response, or in this case, lack of a response to the global recession. The only plan the Government has is to ‘cut back Government spending’ and that’s a euphemism for privatization. ACT, the tail that owns the dog, is planning a mass privatization agenda using the Super City as the blueprint, as the ever brilliant Gordon Campbell points out…

    Rodney Hide’s agenda for local government involves – as Scoop reported six months ago – the importation of an American model that has resulted in drastic cutbacks in the public services provided by local government, and the privatization of some current services as a result. Colorado and California are two fairly chilling examples of what Hide has in mind. This agenda is outlined in a Cabinet paper whose contents are being wheeled into place in New Zealand under the cover of sweet-sounding terms like ‘greater transparency’ and ‘more accountability’.

    …the reality is that the recession will turn into a depression as the effects of mass unemployment start to take effect. Exploitation of these huge unemployment numbers will occur under the right to sack environment ACT and National have created and the mass privatization of public services desperately needed by those inching closer to the breadline will galvanize a lot of fury towards the Government. The Maori party continues to look limp and the camouflage wrapping to make ACT and National look moderate starts to become more and more apparent as ACT and National’s mass immigration ‘solution’ is quietly rolled out with zero public consultation.

    King John is still in denial about how bad the situation is, and is still not being upfront with the privatization agenda being worked on in the back rooms.

    I wonder if this now is that change NZer’s were looking for? National are looking more and more like a one term wonder.

    Q+A – the audacity comes full circle.

    I’m sorry, did my pretty little ears mislead me? There they are bitching about crime rates with the realization that we are locking up too many people, that 70% reoffend, that 56% aren’t eligible for rehabilitation, that the cost will skyrocket, that the prison environment itself will be detrimental etc etc etc – all the points that have been made a thousand bloody times on this blog – and there’s Paul, open mouthed claiming “what to do, what to do” – well Paul seeing as you’ve been a big time talkback host most of your life, you’ve led the if it bleeds it leads media crime campaign used to terrify NZers into an angry fury and when was the last time Paul challenged lock em up and throw away the key. That’s right it’s the medias fault for the climate of debate we live in where the sensible sentencing lynch mob is the only voice and the frightened angry citizens baying for public lynchings HAS NEVER BEEN TAKEN ON by the media – not once. The audacity of Paul Holmes knows no end.

    When is TV3 putting a counter show to this crap?

    Bomber’s Blog – the war on news starts Friday 9.15pm sky digital 89, Freeview 21 and Triangle.

    Fried Pork

    There’s a TV advert for some new glorification of cops show where a cop is threatening to taser someone if they don’t spit something out. HOLD THE PHONE – cops can’t use tasers to compel action from a citizen, they are only supposed to use tasers on someone advancing on them with a knife, or bat or the usual scenario that always has anonymous posters here screaming “WHAT DO YOU WANT BOMBER – FOR THE COPS TO SHOOT HIM, BETTER THEY TASER HIM” blah blah, blah. Cop guidelines even point out that tasers can only be used when Police are threatened, they CAN’T be used to compel action, but I’ve always argued that is exactly what cops will use tasers for and this promo shows that. These bloody cops were given tasers because the argument has always been better the cop tasers someone advancing than shoot, but what the cops have always wanted is a way of compelling action with the threat of a taser and like a bunch of sheep we’ve given it to them. It won’t be till some precious little middle class kid gets tasered before there is a reflection on this stupid move.

    Man shot up to 28 times with Taser by Australian police
    Police in Australia are to review how they use Taser guns after the death of a man in Queensland who was stunned possibly as much as 28 times by one of the powerful electronic weapons. Antonio Galeano, 39, an amphetamines addict, collapsed and died 15 minutes after being stunned by a 50,000-volt Taser gun during a confrontation with police in Brandon, near Townsville in far north Queensland last Friday. Police said initially that he had been shot three times, but data recorded on the Taser gun has shown that it was triggered 28 times. It is unknown if Mr Galeano was hit by all of the electric shock bursts. Mr Galeano had gone on a naked rampage just days after being released from a psychiatric hospital. According to police, he was threatening to harm himself and officers so they tried to use capsicum spray on him

    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    Bomber's Blog - the war on news

    Bomber's Blog - the war on news starts this Friday, 9.15pm sky 89, Freeview 21 and Triangle

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Michael Jackson: got enough

    Killer ad placement:
    Pop artist:
    I liked him before he got all freaky - not black freaky - white freaky.

    Our thoughts are with the family at this time.
    The late Dom DeLuise in a funky disco farce with the family.

    King John says “Let them eat cake”

    MPs cut everything in public service except own spending
    Politicians have escaped the "razor gang" that is cutting Government spending. Now the Treasury has suggested freezing the amount of money available to ministers in order to force them to lead by example. The results of "line-by-line" reviews of departmental expenditure were released among Budget documents yesterday. They reveal that the departments that look after the politicians - Ministerial Services, the Parliamentary Service and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet - emerged largely unscathed from the Government's cost-cutting demands. However, the Treasury had a pointed message for the new National Party ministers. It said they were "accentuating" the problem with a travel bill of $739,000 in their first three months - more than double the $336,000 Labour ministers spent on travel in the same period the year before. The Treasury was disappointed at savings of just $136,000 in Ministerial Services - just 0.02 per cent of the agency's total spending.

    A 1000 NZers joining the dole every week, 10% knee capping of the public sector labour force and every department told to cut back EXCEPT THEIR OWN. The message from our multi millionaire Prime Minister is pretty clear isn’t it, “You cut back, but I won’t”. Does he really get how tough it is for NZers because blowing twice as much as Labour did for air travel and making only a .02% saving for his department doesn’t really look like he does. In the wake of the farce that was the job summit, the least he could do is make cut backs ijn his own department that he is demanding from everyone else, but King John won't.

    Because King John is a winner and winners don't cut back. Keep it up King John, NZers love this sort of thing.

    Michael Jackson dead-King of Pop goes Pop

    Michael Jackson taken to hospital
    BREAKING NEWS: Pop star Michael Jackson has been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived at his home, the Los Angeles Times reported. The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital. No further details were immediately available, and spokespersons for Jackson could not be reached for comment. His father Joe Jackson has told E! News he's been alerted to the emergency.

    Didn’t he die years ago and they’ve just been waiting to announce his death for tax purposes? For one of the most unhealthy people I’ve ever seen, he’s had a pretty good run.

    Memorial Kindergartens in his name, or is that too soon?

    Good to see though that C4 are currently paying tribute to him with MJ hit after MJ hit where as MTV - a network built on the back of his work are not changing from their current programming at all.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Auckland Council Bill submission

    Submissions to the select committee close tomorrow:

    The bill provides for the governance structure of the Auckland Council, including the high level framework (structure, functions, powers, duties and membership), and the powers and functions for the Local Government Commission to determine the boundaries of Auckland, the names and boundaries of the wards and local boards, the number of local boards and number of members, and to develop a reorganisation scheme for the division of the Franklin District, and its council, between the Auckland Council and the Waikato District Council. It also proposes amendments to two local government Acts to allow remuneration, allowances and expenses payable to be determined by the Remuneration Authority, and for the Auckland Transition Agency to approve a process for, and oversee, the planning and management of the integration of Auckland's water supply and wastewater services by Watercare Services Limited.

    The committee requests that submissions address specifically the matters raised in the bill, as it will not be considering any other issues. Submissions can either be emailed to AGL@parliament.govt.nz

    The Bill.

    Some issues I will raise in my submission:

    Mana Whenua
    The Council
    The Boards


    Americans LOVE to fight dirty because they have no honour

    Missile death toll at 55 in Pakistan
    Intelligence officials denied reports Wednesday that the head of Pakistan's Taliban narrowly escaped death in a suspected US missile strike that killed about 55 people, saying he was elsewhere at the time.

    Baitullah Mehsud, accused of plotting suicide bombings and the assassination Tuesday of his chief rival, is the target of a looming offensive by Pakistan's military in the South Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

    Clashes continued Wednesday in the volatile northwest, with a rocket attack at a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar killing three officers, local police chief Yasin Khan said. Three rockets were fired at a military base in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, triggering a shootout but no known casualties.

    But the focus is on Mehsud, who reportedly has up to 12,000 men under his control, entrenched in the lawless tribal areas. Suspected missile strikes killed several people at a purported Taliban training centre early Tuesday, then another barrage rained down on a funeral procession for some of those killed in the first attack.

    Intelligence officials had said Tuesday night that Mesud was at the funeral and that militants lost contact with him for a while. Media reports suggested he had a very close call.

    However, two intelligence officials said Wednesday that although Mehsud had visited the village where the funeral took place, he left before the drone-fired missiles killed 55 people – reportedly including several senior Taliban leaders – and wounded dozens more. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

    Let’s get this straight, the American’s BOMBED a funeral, a freakin funeral. Just think about that for a second, if it had been ‘us’ (the west) who had been bombed by ‘them’ at a funeral this would be front page news at the disgusting horror of an enemy who would chose to attack and bomb during a funeral. There would be pundits clogging the airwaves telling us how evil it was that someone would bomb people during a funeral, there would be righteous foaming and frothing for such a dirty, dirty tactic. But of course not a whisper of that kind of talk because WE (the west) were the ones bombing a funeral, oh and it gets better, the man who apparently justified such a dirty tactic WASN’T EVEN AT THE BLOODY FUNERAL! When the west fights with so little honour how can it ever hope to win in Pakistan or Afghanistan, perhaps if the American’s hadn’t spent so many billions arming and building the conditions that spawned these groups in the first place they wouldn’t need to stoop to such dirty levels, but America is blind to learning the lessons of the past and are creating new atrocities to radicalize the next generation of orphans.

    Ronald McNational Burger combo (do you want lies with that?)

    Don’t fret that the Treasury’s report in the budget that we could be facing 10% unemployment get you down or the fact that the Government have done sweet FA to stop a 1000 NZers becoming unemployed each week because the Government have lined up a special kind of hell for those unlucky enough to be unemployed. National have cut a deal with McDonalds, one of the worlds worst junk food polluters, to educate you at Burger University. Get a Degree in Pickle-ology or a Masters in the weird gooey shit they make their shakes with, a career producing awful food which contributes to our obesity problem that is clownishly dressed up to attract children the way flavoured cigarettes are is a future so riddled with disease you’ll wish you were dead, but with unemployment the way it is, National and Ronald both have you over a barrel because my friends the times, they are melting down…

    Over 300,000 Kiwis on benefits
    The number of New Zealanders receiving a benefit has risen to 302,000 - the highest level since 2005. There was "no escaping" the effects of the recession on the economy, Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett told Parliament's social services select committee this morning. As unemployment soared the number of people receiving the dole increased by a net 1000 a week and the number of people claiming other benefits also rose, Ms Bennett said. "We are seeing unemployment rising more sharply than in previous recessions."

    …oh yes we are, and let’s not forget that Miss Bennett on the first day in the house this year claimed to have seen a report with unemployment as high as 14%. Let’s ask anyone of those 1000 NZers who are being made unemployed each week if they enjoy being in a job environment created by ACT and National where your boss can sack you within the first 90 days, no questions asked, I bet those 1000 unemployed each week must LOVE that level of exploitation. Let’s hope those unemployed thank National in 2011. Wasn’t that job summit a farce!

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Matariki 2009: Observations

    It is a smokey, still night, on the isthmus of Tamaki Makaurau, quite cold and a bit cloudy. There was a misty light drizzle at one point in the afternoon - otherwise fine. But the cloud is scattering and you can see clearly across the Waitemata.

    There is a New Moon tonight.

    - from Te Papa. That's the Roman months explained in Maori terms, but that's not the real calander - the Maramataka - the Polynesian-based Maori lunar calendar.

    Whiro is the first night of the moon calendar most Iwi have followed.
    There are differences of opinion and practice - as with many customs it gives enough flexibility to do things in a rational and convenient way in the future with standardisation.

    In temperate climates particularly among settled agricultural societies, the importance of the sun (actually the day length) in determining the seasons of the year led to efforts to use it as the basis for an annual calendar. One of the earliest was the Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. This was based on the sidereal year (the period of revolution of the earth around the sun, or 365.25 days). Because their calculations were not entirely accurate, the Romans introduced a leap year of 366 days every 3 years. This calendar was later replaced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 in all Roman Catholic countries and in Britain and her colonies in 1752. The Gregorian calendar was based on the tropical rather than the sidereal year, i.e. on the time taken for two successive passages of the sun through the vernal equinox; equalling 365.24 days.

    Maori also recognized the problems associated with use of the moon calendar and provided several possible solutions. One (mentioned above) is that they did as their Eastern Polynesian ancestors did, and added some moon nights to the year to maintain seasonal synchronicity. Another method was to include an additional thirteenth month every few years. Best
    (1959:12) notes that some Maori informants provided him with lists of 13 month names, while 13 month names were also collected at Tahiti.

    Maintaining monthly synchronicity with the moon phases may have involved both addition and/or deletion of moon nights. An example of the latter comes from the Reverend Metara te Ao-Marere of Otaki, who provided a maramataka obtained from Mita te Tai (no. 35). In his own notebook containing symbols pertaining to fishing activities on each moon night, the Reverend comments that “sometimes the full moon (Ohua) appeared on the 16th night, or even on the 17th, in which latter case the 15th, 16th and 17th nights would all be called Ohua, and several of the final nights names of the list would be dropped for that month. This would be for the purpose of balancing the lunar month” (quoted in Best 1986:113).

    This Astronomy NZ article was quite interesting (click to enlarge).
    If Year Zero is the year the Treaty was signed - almost entirely in the summer and autumn of 1840 AD in the Roman, solar-based calendar of the Northern Hemisphere Europeans - then the first full year, Year 1 under the Treaty and the new legal order of the country, July 1840 - June 1841 is Year 1 in the lunar-based calendar of the Southern Hemisphere Polynesians. That puts us in June 2009 at Year 169 and would make next month Year 170 of the Treaty 170 TW in terms of counting Maori New Years in my reckoning.

    A June/July New Year cut-off has the advantage of being synchronous to the government's financial year - the half year on a Roman Calendar.

    Mallard needs to quit

    Mallard wants to leave parliament - in the same way that a very frustrated and angry Steve Maharey wanted to leave parliament. In the same way too that Helen Clark and Michael Cullen were itching to get out of that tomb - their political careers having reached a peak and their redundancy and decline the only thing on the horizon inside the House.

    But unlike Steve Maharey and his Vice-Chancellorship, Helen Clark and her UN posting, Michael Cullen and his government directorships and consultancy and unlike Margaret Wilson and her exit back into academia as if running the government and parliament was just a sabbatical, unlike all of those people, Trevor Mallard has nothing to look forward to.

    It's a mid-ranked existence and a long sorry slide down a long caucus ladder. The man is feeling it. He had become accustomed to something more whilst in government - they all must have - and they share in the despondency at the loss of power and uncomfortable and joyless change of purpose and routine. From champions of the positive and leading the affairs of state - to seers of doom and pedantic debating chamber temper tantrums.

    Mallard is a scrapper and a bully and yes - angry - but it just isn't effective or worthwhile being that sort of person in the twilight years, looking back down the way he came up in a professional cul de sac.

    This stress is showing. This is what Maharey was getting like before he had to call it quits. Mallard should resign for his own piece of mind. This is what he's being paid for these days - torrid trivia, banalities and reminiscences - from Labour's Red Alert Blog:

    Mate, you cut off her ears you psycho

    Sophie Elliott killing: Weatherston 'calm, collected'
    Clayton Robert Weatherston set about killing and disfiguring Sophie Elliott "in a calm and collected manner", the Crown said as it opened the murder case against him in the High Court at Christchurch today. Crown prosecutor Marie Grills said 33-year-old Weatherston took the knife with him when he visited 22-year-old Miss Elliott's Dunedin home on January 9, 2008. The knife was found broken and covered in blood after the attack in which Miss Elliott was stabbed or cut 216 times. A pair of scissors was also found bent and bloodstained in the room. Weatherston, Miss Elliott's former boyfriend and her lecturer at Otago University, today pleaded not guilty to her murder but said he was guilty of manslaughter when the charge was read to him on the first day of the three-week trial before Justice Judith Potter and a jury. The defence had signalled that there would be "a partial defence of provocation", Justice Potter told the jury.

    PROVOCATION? Mate you stabbed her 216 times, sliced her ears off and mutilated her genitalia – what possible defense of provocation is this psycho going to try and use? His delusional arrogance and creepy flesh colored beard makes Clayton Robert Weatherston our new pin up boy for psychopaths. His smug “Not guilty to Murder, Guilty of Manslaughter” was jaw dropping in its audacity. I am waiting to see his face if he gets a guilty verdict to murder, provocation indeed. What an arsehole.

    With Close up, National don’t need a spin department

    You can understand why National are still soaring in the polls, with Close Up, National don’t need a spin department. Monday Nights Close Up, hosted by former National Party candidate, Paul Henry did an investigation (and I use that word in its broadest possible sense) on using shipping containers to house prisoners. The ‘investigation’ turned out to be a piece on luxury container accommodation and ignored completely the fact that National don’t intend to house one prisoner per container but 3-4 prisoners per container, it’s like double bunking but worse. All this will result in is more assaults, more rapes and more prisoner abuse, dehumanizing damaged individuals will only see these men explode once release. Saving money to allow for National’s medieval law and order policy at the cost of a safe environment shows how far to the right NZ has shifted.

    Mt Albert by-election official result: Nats under a thousand ahead of Greens

    Official results now in for the Mt Albert by-election:
    47.8% turnout indicates that in a safe Labour seat and with Melissa Lee destroying her own campaign both Labour and National voters did not see the outcome as in doubt. I had an occasion to chat to Shearer since the by-election and he is an impressive character - although whether he will be cut out for the boorish and ruthless parliamentary scene remains untested until he gets sworn in... next week it must be.
    DPF has the rankings of the candidates:Note that Russel pulls to within a thousand of Lee and that the stoner candidate beat the "Kiwi Party" conservative Christian candidate (albeit by one vote). That's the limit of their public support. How's that for a smack?


    MPs out-of-pocket

    What the Nat insider is defending is a sort of Maundy Money that I was posting on last week in so far as ancient political rights are concerned.MPs' expense allowances are a political right in consequence of duty, a bit like taxation. The small amount of money distributed for others as alms - is routinely used just for themselves in our system going by the list of acceptable claims. If it's not to help pay the cost of the host (which is what a koha would be) in whose pocket do these out-of-pocket expenses end up? It's all officially none of our business. Well if it is none of our business let's do it properly.The allowances and the salaries and the expenses of politicians - as the British parliament has shown over the last few weeks - is riddled with transparency and honesty issues. There is also a side-show element to anything involving the small amounts spent by politicians on anything the media decide is unworthy.

    The best way to solve these issues would be to have individual MP's on a salary set in the constitution as a percentage of the average wage (@ $131,000 pa for a backbencher it must be around 300% at present!) and then an equivalent amount to be bulk-funded at the start of the term - to be paid to the MP's party administration to use as they please. Every electorate MP gets a set amount bulk-funded to them to run their local office as they please. As they please. Parliamentary services should not be involved with these staff - the conflicts and chinese walls and so on in the current system is open to abuse - better they wash their hands of it altogether. If the party wants to spend all that money on slick ads and campaigning - so be it, if they want to spend it all on staffing - so be it. So long as the parliamentary service involvement and staff is cut back in proportion to the money the MPs and parties receive then it will all be worth it.

    I think it would be simpler to do it that way despite some of the drawbacks. As long as the allocation of money is on a fair basis (eg. electorate size is now considered a relevant factor in resourcing) then all the little perks and stuff can be cut - including the bullshit multiple versions of what is and is not political campaign literature/electorate notices. Let the MPs hire and fire staff directly and let them pay for all their own material.

    I previously posted on the allowances - esp. in respect of the PM's personal grooming clause - which he must not have claimed yet going by his appearance.