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Monday, August 31, 2009

Banks/Brown [odds]

The Auckland mayoral contest begins. It's a straight-out right-left competition. Before the ink is even dry on the final bill, before the select committee has even reported back, the Auckland Council shape is formed enough for the two leading contenders to have announced their candidacies. The National/Act candidate who will run as an independent, and the Labour/Greens candidate who will run as an independent.

John Banks is the known factor. He's an uptight right winger: the angry guy listening to talkhate radio in the traffic, muttering racist obscenities as he nods in agreement with Leighton Smith and pushes his mobile petrol tank into the front of the queue. To 50%+ of the electorate he is a Maxwell Smart figure - a staccato-speaking imbecile in a suit a size too small who thinks he knows everything, pisses everyone off and then takes the credit for their work. However he has seemingly learnt the art of keeping his mouth shut in recent years and this has helped the public forget these liabilities.But Banks only has to make it to about 35% in a first-past-the-post (single tick) system that we use now to elect the mayor. On a two preference system like they use in London for a first and second choice Banks would most likely lose - so don't expect the Tories to back that improvement. The last thing they would want is a moderate right or moderate left candidate winning as a compromise - they want Banks, or someone like Banks to control the agenda even if the "executive" powers mooted for the position may be weaker than first envisaged and may come back to setting agendas and budget proposition when the final Bill goes through. So since Banks would likely have a maximum ceiling of around 40% he can only hope to win in an FPP system.

Len Brown's tepid reception from the inner suburb lefties and those Auckland City councillors back in April when he addressed them at an informal "Drinking Liberally" session is echoed by many outside of that clique. People think he's a bit of a drip, a try-hard for his down with the kids schtick. But he's untainted - and that may be his core electoral attribute: the unknown factor.

Len Brown has a clean slate - at least with the million people of Auckland who live outside the boundaries of the Manukau City Council. He will form his public persona through the media in the next year leading up to the first election and it will be a path of fumbles and fights on which he will be scored by the media. But through it all he must retain that sense of decency that people have observed - it is his strongest card in an increasingly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural city.

[UPDATE-- 4:20PM: Len Brown's website (via: DPF who reminds us of Brown's Labour party membership and tries to define the lead issue as rates). Brown will try to make the issue transport - and public transport in particular if the Q+A interview yesterday was anything to go by. Rates and the implementation of a unitary system for the new Council where winners and losers will be decided will energise the property owning middle classes primarily, but transport cuts across the interests of every voter in Auckland and will be more tangible than the nuances and nomenclature of rating values.

Note the dark, Labour red:The spiel for the candidate's brochure probably won't be too different from the priorities he has listed at the moment:

  • Completing the work to build fully integrated transport system linking our roads, rail, airports and shipping ports, with a significant upgrade of public transport.
  • Supporting the business community through the development of high-speed broadband, better regulations, greater support for tourism and events, and a much greater focus on the export sector and business development.
  • Public ownership of assets is crucial to our long-term economic growth. Maintaining our interests in the airport, port and water are crucial to developing those assets for the benefit of all of Auckland.
  • Protecting and enhancing facilities such as libraries, pools and parks, and working towards, over time, extending the free entry to swimming pools and John Walker Field of Dreams policies which currently exist in Manukau across the city
  • Building on the significant work led by Waitakere, and picked up by the other cities. Sustainability must be central to the new city.

    It all sounds credible, but can Len Brown escape the goofy Steve Martin comparisons?He has to connect with people north of the bridge and north of the portage and some of his antics and youthful over-enthusiasm are just too much, but at least he will have a go and make a splash...

    Compare this to what Banks offers:Arguing percentages is not going to win anyone an election:

    We are holding your rates increases at or below council audited inflation, or 2.0% for 2009, which is a big improvement for you over the previous council’s plans to raise rates by double digit amounts.
    The council I lead is focused on fiscal correctness, not political correctness. We are scaling back many projects of the last council which were poor quality spending and not core council responsibilities.

    "Affordable progress" - a meh shade of grey. As boring as possible. --UPDATE ENDS]

    A majority of people doubt that the polarising and bigoted figure of John Banks would be acceptable as mayor. Len Brown can expect to pick up a very large chunk of this vote by default as the leading proposition to keep Banks out. What Banks must really fear is a wealthy right wing candidate emerging who could scythe off 5% or so. That would be enough to keep him out of office.[UPDATE --6PM: Here's my reckoning of the market odds as at today in dollar terms —

    To win Auckland City mayoralty in 2010:
    $1.60 JOHN BANKS
    $1.75 LEN BROWN
    $3.00 OTHER

    Banks -
    Old Tory Conservative Red-neck petrol-head.

    Banks +
    He's trying hard to be nice nowadays.

    Brown -
    That dorky guy?

    Brown +
    At least he's not a cunt old Tory conservative...

    Mike Lee and the other lefties won't bother to waste their time running against Len Brown. The RAM crowd, or whatever is to the left of the City Vision/Left bloc may put in a candidate to raise their profile in the wards and if they are a celebrity candidate they may attract up to 15%. Same on the right wing with an Alan B'stard spoiler - like Paul Henry. A personally wealthy candidate from the right with enough profile and attitude - attitude that the new Banksie can't express because of his need to win over moderate soft-left middle class voters - could cut a big enough chunk out of his vote to doom him. But not 15%. It would be an ego trip and the vast majority of right-leaning voters would not dare risk their vote on the outside candidate. This outside candidate from either right or left may be from beyond the old Pakeha clubs and may be counting on a rump support from their own ethnic or class community. So, maybe up to 10% max. That's 25% - mostly ideological voters and narrow interests. Of more potential is the centre candidate who can establish themselves as a distinct personality and then reverse colonise one of either of the main candidate's platforms and cause a collapse of their vote and create enough momentum to attract the floating votes that will go to the strongest candidate at the time. That could be where the only viable alternative (ie. 35%+ support) to Banks and Brown will come from, but the chances of them having a high enough profile and grassroots support for running a campaign with spending caps, may mean that no candidate from beyond those two will get to 35% to have a chance of knocking them out. For those reasons it would be very unsafe for a bookie to put Banks or Brown outside of even money at this early stage. --UPDATE ENDS]


  • The Privatization Blitzkrieg

    Tolley to meet school voucher pioneer
    Education Minister Anne Tolley is meeting a controversial American schools leader who pioneered a scheme heralded by former US president George W. Bush. Tolley yesterday departed for a nine-day North American tour. While in the United States, Tolley said she would meet Michelle Rhee, the Washington DC Schools Chancellor. Rhee established an American-first "voucher programme" called the "Opportunity Scholarship" in Washington DC in 2004. A similar scheme already under way in New Zealand has been criticised for diverting money out of the public system and sending a message that private schools are better. The US scheme gave about 1900 pupils from low-income families up to $7500 to attend private schools of their choice, but the Obama Administration has limited future funding of Rhee's voucher scheme. Many Democrats and American teachers' unions claimed the voucher programme sucked taxpayer money from public schools, making it harder for them to serve any children well. Earlier this month, The Press revealed poor Kiwi families would be income-tested for the chance of "an enhanced educational opportunity" at private schools. Associate Education Minister Heather Roy said 250 low-income children would be offered independent school scholarships.

    You’ve got to hand it to National, for a Political Party that got elected on ‘change’ with no actual definition of what that ‘change’ was going to be. The vast privatization blitzkrieg National have quietly been working on in the background is so offensive because National have no mandate for these great leaps backwards, it was this ideology that saw them in opposition for 3 terms. The neoliberal agenda of deregulation, tax cuts and privatization have failed globally and their zealous pursuit has been the reason why the International economy has fallen into the black hole of a great recession. Watching our multi-millionaire Mr Aspiration Optimist Prime soft sell the new National neoliberal agenda while pretending to ‘consult’ with NZ is a lesson in marketing spin that Hell Pizza could learn from.

    So far National have ‘consulted’ on Climate Change and the Maori seats. While ‘consulting’ on these issues, the Nats have just gone ahead and implemented what they intended to do in the first place, there is no ‘consultation’ with National.

    In the background we have these private consultants who have all hours access to Minister’s offices quietly working on the mass privatization of public services in NZ. We are seeing Ryall working on it in health and look at Tolley meeting the Dark Lord of the Sith in America for the insidious ‘voucher’ system. Tolley has brought the voucher system into NZ, why offer children from poor homes private school scholarships when that money should be going into making the public school system better? It’s elitist bullshit and a way to start education privatization in NZ under the guise of ‘helping the poor’.

    Death Threats & Child Spankers

    Death threats to Sue Bradford
    ANTI-smacking campaigner Sue Bradford has received chilling death threats and been warned she could be New Zealand’s “first political assassination’’.

    Silly angry fundy Christians, why don’t they turn the other cheek? Don’t they understand, they are trying to win back the legal right to belt THEIR children, they aren’t getting the legal rights to kill Sue Bradford! Remarkable isn’t it, Sue takes a principled stand to remove a legal loop hole parents who bash their kids have been able to use in front of the Courts, because the Courts should be protecting the kids not the abusers and she gets death threats for it?

    Regardless of their desire to win back the legal right to belt their kids, shouldn’t smackers at least contain their violence to their children?

    Sunday, August 30, 2009


    I tip my hat when it deserves it. Q+A tried it on with Rodney Hide this morning and Guyon got some punches in, and Rodney was doing EVERYTHING to look as meek and none threatening as possible (the Crosby Textor talking points must’ve come in and they would’ve said, “Yes Rodney you are the Boss, but stop looking like it”).

    Rodney on Rodney
    On screwing Maori on killing the Maori seats
    Guyon was good but wanted a debate with a man using talkback logic, I am so sick of hearing the line, “There’s nothing stopping Maori from running” bullshit. It’s just such a talkback attack line, yes there is nothing stopping Maori from standing but there are heaps of things stopping Maori from winning! Unfair electoral systems and 150 year history where only 8 Maori have been elected within the context of the sovereignty partnership created by the Treaty of Waitangi all play a part, points I was glad to see Guyon point out.

    Climate Change:
    Guyon hit him hard over Climate Change, you could see Rodney’s eyes narrow as Guyon read out any one of the crazy quotes Hide has given on Climate Change. Rodney knows that shit fly’s within the narrow voting band he aims at and is seen as flat earth nonsense by the masses so he didn’t want to linger.

    On smacking:
    Oh god Rodney sounded so far up his arse when he tried to claim that the smacking debate effected him and made him a ‘criminal’ for smacking his kid just like his dear old mother. It’s just such provincial mush, it’s like listening to Bush name Jesus Christ as his great person in history question. You can see that Hide has spent way too much time with the Sensible Sentencing Trust, his reasoning for the right to smack was just all emotional pap.

    On screwing Rodger:
    Smart question at the end with tying Douglas’s jaw dropping defence of his overseas perks with ACT’s supposed core values of small Government.

    Hide was reminded today that the media are watching.

    Len Brown – Good luck
    Len announced his run at the Auckland Mayoralty and his decent bloke reality actually won a certain begrudging respect from Guyon. He gave a strong vision, and it was actually refreshing to hear someone give a vision, the two trip points were the fact he didn’t have Maori seats in the Manukau City Council. His answer on that needs to be much quicker and sharper and his heart issue needs to be addressed up front rather than allow to be the last thing people think about.

    Winston back
    Well at least it will stop old people from voting for National

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    National want to rape the country minus your denigration thanks

    Stop anti-mining 'hysteria' – Groser
    Conservation land should be mined for minerals, says Conservation Minister Tim Groser, who is calling for the "emotional hysteria" over such a suggestion to stop. Groser said the Government was reviewing technical procedures under schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act, which banned some mining, and no decisions had been made. But the Government was elected on a platform to balance New Zealand's long-term economic interests, and mining on conservation land was already happening, he said. "If you can extract wealth from that [conservation land], that's what we should do."

    These rich pricks just don’t get it do they? “Stop the hysterical nonesense’ – National want to rape our environment for the bloody mining industry, and our reaction to that is ‘hysterical’ – the utter born to rule arrogance of these people is astounding, there was no mandate in the election to start digging up the countryside to leave arsenic pits so National’s corporate mining chums can make a buck. Groser’s attack on the environmental concerns of NZers shows what this party really think.

    Massive arsenic pits instead of clean and green – how does that change feel?

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Hell Pizzas have been "shit for two years" admits own marketing man

    Corporate apologist, Kirk, with megaphone having his right of reply.

    The best part of the anti-racism protest this evening was when the Hell pizza marketing guru admitted their product has been "shit for two years." Beautiful. He also said that they "wouldn't do racist advertising anymore" and then tried to say that he didn't accept that what was done was racist... but it was offensive... but not really (?) What a fool. And a cock.

    The authorised Hell spokesman, Kirk, the man taking all the (dis)credit of their lame-arse, offensive ad campaigns, gave a quasi-apology of sorts to the protesters while I was inside taking up his offer of ordering a free pizza - the most expensive with all the toppings (that I never ate or picked up because I won't eat that shit - the point is to cost them time and money). He must of said something to placate them because when I emerged I was informed that he had made some sort of a half apology. It's not one that I accept... if it was one at all.

    I explained to the mob (a few dozen souls) that my first reaction when I saw the "brownies" thing on someone's blog was to think that whoever came up with that was a cock. My second reaction was that it was racistly offensive, and the third was that the little cock-wipes should be ignored. Ignore them and they lose. Ignore them and they have wasted their money. But then I was facebooked this protest as an event and I had some thinking to do. Wouldn't it just give them the free publicity they were counting on?

    After some pondering I came to the realisation that by just ignoring it I was actually acquiescing in their racism. If everyone in a position to do anything about it ignored it then the only thing left for them to do would be to go more extreme and become more offensive, more racist. Other firms would follow their lead and public discourse would become more racist than it is already. How could we let that happen? We can't.The only funny thing about all this is that Kirk probably thinks he did a great job. He had some junior cock types off to one side sniggering to themselves during the protest learning from the master. Morons. Watching a washed up hack without a creative cell left in his burnt-out, drugged-scorched mind attempting to defend the indefensible would have been a sad scene if it wasn't for the fact he was so smug and uncontrite. I called him a racist, unfunny, disingenuous, liar, a cock and more besides at the rally so I make these comments here in the same spirit - accuracy and corporate accountability.

    And just to prove how disingenuous his apology was the hideous staff flunky who was taking the orders was wearing what must have been a specially made t-shirt just to show us what cocks they are:Are they just for the white staff or does everyone have to wear it?

    Doesn't look very apologetic to me.

    Doesn't seem like a genuine apology to me.

    Doesn't look like they have learned their lesson. Next time they try this shit on it will be the nuclear option first up. The brand will be bashed and trashed.PHOTOS: Andrew Wilson

    Hell will freeze over

    Re: Today's anti-racism rally outside the Quay Street, Auckland branch of the corporation at 5:30pm:

    Before:A pathetic PR puff piece - written by the Marketer of the Year/owner Callum Davies most likely as it trumpets the almighty brand rather than the product.


    0800 costs them - but if you are on pre-pay do not call as it will cost you $1. The Telecom payphone will only let you select the nearest local branches, but that will cost them at least 25c a minute - and will cost you nothing.

    So ring 0800 666 111 and enquire about the menu items, the ingredients, the source of them, the food miles, the cooking techniques, the kitchen's food hygiene rating, the parking, the specials, the payment methods... and do ask about the "brownies" you must ask about that and do tell them what you think - and then order somewhere else. The recorded introductory message instructs the caller to have "a hell of a night". Maybe it's time they had a similar experience.

    Bon Appétit.

    FPP wards - the power of one

    NZ Herald's municipal correspondent must have been speaking to the select committee members (due to report back next Friday) rather than the "Govt" —

    The main fear was the at-large system would favour the wealthy, celebrities and political blocs who could afford citywide campaigns.

    It is understood the Government is considering a halfway house with six urban wards, each with three councillors elected within the ward at large. There would also be two rural wards for Franklin and Rodney with one councillor each.
    Most councils - and submitters to the Auckland governance select committee - favoured councillors being elected to represent a single ward. Auckland City Council was the only council to support at-large councillors.

    My submissions argued in favour of at-large seats too, but not 8. Crucially - to avoid the spectre of the personally wealthy being the only ones in real competition at that level - it is necessary that the number be at least 9 - preferably 11 (similar to London's Authority) on a list/ticket basis. Conducting an at-large election of 8 on a First-past-the-post basis would be biased in favour of celebrity candidates and the mega-rich. With a ticket/list system (like the MMP list system) council positions become possible for third parties and the chances are a wider group of people will be elected than if it was done FPP style (where it will be personalities rather than a political contest of policies). "Political blocs" are actually the right way to express political preferences and for that to be derided in the report is bizarre. But to abandon the idea of the entire Auckland electorate as a whole being able to elect councillors is a retrograde step.

    If the point in amalgamating all the councils of Auckland together is to get coherence and unitary plans and policies then it does follow that having councillors elected by the whole region will do this. These councillors, collectively, will have a unique mandate that the parochial local ward councillors will not have. These city-wide councillors will have to earn votes everywhere, represent everyone and most importantly of all have to think and act for the whole of Auckland. If they remove this element of at-large representation then it will actually be easier for the wealthy to exploit and make a gerrymandered two-party system an inevitability.

    The reason both the Nats and Labour will support single member electorates is so they can control the system and exclude rivals, while minimising their expenses. Most people don't seem to understand the game that they are playing here when they call for a ward-only system. Any FPP system limits diversity of elected members and entrenches the two ruling parties - that's the way it works and that is why Labour will support the Nats if they go down this path. They want to lock up the city politically for the next 50-100 years. The most effective way to achieve this hegemony is single member wards, the second most effective is two member wards - both options are being touted by the major players according to the article.


    Pricelessly Evil

    900 Employees facing corrupt contracts
    40% fall in profits
    30% drop in share price
    $5 million wage to the boss


    Radio NZ today at 4pm

    I'm on Radio NZ this afternoon at 4pm

    National to rape DOC land with dirty filthy mining -tell me NZ– how DOES that change feel?

    Crown eyes lucrative mineral potential of conservation estate
    The Government denies it wants to "dig up" the conservation estate, despite planning to access billions of dollars worth of minerals locked up in Crown land. Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee told the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in Queenstown this week that he wanted greater access to valuable mineral deposits held in the conservation estate. Labour said yesterday it was appalled by the proposals. Conservation spokesman David Parker said National had said nothing about mining in DOC estates during last year's election campaign. "Coal and lignite mines are enormous. Allowing increased mining in the DOC estate or allowing it at all in national parks is lunacy," Parker said. The Government should hold extensive public consultation before allowing mining in such areas. "Every New Zealander should have an opportunity to have their say on any changes that would allow increased mining." The Green Party has vowed to fight the proposal, saying it will lead to the environmental destruction of pristine areas. MP Jeanette Fitzsimons said any changes would anger the public.

    Wow, I mean – WOW. Any pretense that this Government was ‘moderate’ has been killed off this week. The construction of the shipping container double bunked rape pen cells, telling Maori where to sit on the Super City bus and now a desire to rape and pillage our natural environment by sending in the mining teams, come on NZ – how the hell is that change feeling? Don’t worry, I know Optimist Prime will give you a cheeky wink and a David Letterman guest appearance and the simple sheep of NZ will forget there are any problems, but for the thinkers amongst us, let’s remind ourselves that the Daddy State isn’t moderate, it has been a pretense from the very beginning, simply look at what National have actually done as opposed to believing their puff pastry spin…

    -recreating class stratification with sirs and dames on top and dirty bennies on the bottom.
    -bennie bashing anytime the media needs a distraction
    -holding ‘consultation’ on Climate Change when they already had made up their mind
    -a weak emission target that doesn’t do a bloody thing
    -allowing the Dairy industry to set the new water standards for the country (seeing as they are one of the biggest polluters this is a joke)
    -opening the country up for more foreign ownership
    -privatizing NZ citizenship to millionaires (wonder which party they will vote for)
    -taking the independence away from the Overseas Aid agency so McCully can make a buck out of it
    -Sending NZ back to war in Afghanistan
    -throwing the privacy laws and cabinet manual out the window to attack beneficiaries who complain about cut backs in training allowances.
    -gutting the Adult Education programmes by a staggering 80% which will lead to massive community isolation.
    -giving the private education industry $35 million while public schools suffer
    -Annexing Auckland with a misuse of urgency and Rodney gets to appoint his mates to run the city.
    -Denying Maori representation on Auckland Super City
    -Government Departments no longer responsible for their carbon footprint
    -canning physical activity programmes for children
    -taking sports money off poor schools to give to rich schools
    -live sheep exports
    -Privatization of prisons EVEN THOUGH the head of Private Prisons from GEO told us at a select committee that private prisons WON’T be cheaper!
    -creation of rape pen shipping container prison cells
    -Privatization of ACC pretending there’s a crises
    -Giving the Police power to take your DNA based on mere suspicion of a crime.
    -a 9day fortnight that actually ends up costing workers
    -preparing TVNZ for privatization
    -10% employment cuts in the public sector when caps were promised as opposed to (knee)caps.
    -dismantling pay equity for 46% of the working population because to National women don't matter as much as slashing wage costs
    -90 day right to sack in an unemployment environment that ranges from 7% to 14%
    -Borrowing for the Tax cut that favoured the rich
    -Junk food back into schools
    -The molestation of the select committee process with a misuse of urgency that you would need to go back to 1998 to find a comparison.
    -Truancy fines raised to $3000
    -$35 million on military boot camps that don’t work but make middle class voters feel smug (this amount has increased btw)
    -Gutting the RMA pretending it’s cutting red tape when really it’s burning Green tape
    -Dismantling the ETS and holding a right wing inquisition into the ‘science’ of global warming
    -Medieval law and order policy pushed through by a right wing homophobic drunk who now wants to meddle with the NZ Bill of Rights so his $30 billion 3 strikes and you’re locked up forever raw meat law can pass

    NZers swallowed a line about a ‘Nanny State’ telling them what light bulbs they could use or what shower heads they can use or what food can be eaten at school, and they bought this talkback myth hook line and sinker, but compare those petty issues with what National are actually doing and I think some NZers are going to start feeling like they’ve been conned, National were as quiet as they could be about what they actually intended to implement once elected.

    BTW – If the 9 day working fortnight is so good for the private sector, why isn’t the Government looking to use it in the public sector to reduce redundancies, John Key promised the Public Service wouldn’t be slashed, it would be capped, but it sure as hell doesn’t look like that now does it?

    I think a lot of Labour voters who didn’t vote and made the last election one of the lowest turn outs on record are starting to kick themselves and I think a lot of Labour voters who voted National are feeling a deadening buyers remorse.

    For the rest of the NZ sheep, it’s hard being too critical about their unblinking love of Optimist Prime because the corporate media don’t do a damned thing to bring these issues up. Q+A isn’t an interview show, it’s a light handjob and a hug, a former National party candidate hosts Breakfast, you can count the slightly liberal voices in corporate talkback on one hand and the less said about the Herald the better. We are awash in right wing media and that warps societal perceptions.

    The fight for a socially just society that also values our environment above Gerry Brownlee’s base economics grinds on.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Why are we paying for god schools?

    We need more Govt cash for our schools, say Catholics
    The head of Catholic education says integrated schools need more money from the Government, not less as advocated by a teachers' association. Brother Pat Lynch, chief executive of the Catholic Education Office, said state-integrated schools struggled to keep up with Government-imposed building standards and had been asking for $90 million since 2007. He said primary schools were required to increase their classroom capacity by 48 per cent in 1998 and secondary schools were required to increase theirs by 24 per cent in 2001. But because state-integrated schools were already trying to catch up to building codes imposed in the 1980s they have been in a constant state of "catch-up mode". Another $75 million was required to bring Catholic schools up to state building codes and $90 million was needed for all integrated schools, he said. Forcing parents to pay higher attendance dues was not an option for many schools, especially during the recession. The Post Primary Teachers Association believes state-integrated schools are already "unduly privileged" by anomalies in the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975.

    Why the hell are we paying for these god schools and why aren’t the bloody parents paying for them through the extra fees rather than us the taxpayer bloody well subsidizing them? Look if these people want to run religious schools, they should ask God to pay for them, not us! I completely back the Post Primary Teachers Association and the Treasury in this, NO MORE TAXPAYER MONEY FOR GOD SCHOOLS! If they do take public cash THEY MUST also take the bloody public curriculum, no more ‘intelligent design’ bullshit in science class and sex education is a must thank you very much! How these schools manage to get away with this is astounding, they take our cash for indoctrination education! I’ve got no problem with private schools as long as you pay for them, but integrated schools that get public cash MUST take our curriculum as well.

    No mercy

    Insult Pacific peoples of Aotearoa at your peril. Expect flashmob protests at your outlets. Prepare to lose a lot of customers who don't agree with your racist insults, "ironic" or otherwise.

    I ignored the news when it was first reported because the cock-wipes who have run Hell pizza into the ground, especially in the marketing department, are only after cheap publicity. But now there is a great opportunity to make an example of them and give them negative publicity and real world consequences.

    They will be punished for running racist advertising and the few thousand they forked out for billboards will end up costing them many-fold more in the damage about to be done to their struggling, shitty brand. Here's my email to the boss:
    I sent that off yesterday and it's 1:30pm and I haven't been contacted. No mitigation. Which goes with the sides of:

    No special promotions:
    No media contact:
    And no repentance either:
    Stay tuned tomorrow for further developments. Rally against Racism facebook page has the details and how you can participate.

    Minuit Music Video

    I love Minuit, they are one of my favourite NZ bands, and I think their music video Fuji is one of the best NZ music videos ever, they are wanting people to help out with their new music video, so if you are keen get involved…

    On the back of their critically acclaimed new album 'Find Me Before I Die A Lonely Death Dot Com', Minuit are working on a new video concept for their single ‘Aotearoa’ and they need New Zealand’s help.

    Minuit’s track ‘Aotearoa’ contains the lyric “You and me, we are a New Zealand”. For the upcoming music video, the band are giving New Zealander’s a chance to show who they are by submitting photos which represent this idea to feature in the video. Be it a photo of them in their town, with their family or friends, on their favourite beach, showing their tattoo, or just them – whatever they think shows a bit of who they are in one shot. The video will also include film footage of events and people that have made up New Zealand.

    “A lot of people make this place that we live in, and we're not all the same; we have different names, different faces, different needs, different places,” says Minuit’s Paul Dodge. “But love it or hate it - this is us. And we want you to say ‘this is me!’”

    Photos can be emailed to findmemusicvideo@gmail.com.
    More information regarding the project and photo requirements can be found at the following facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/minuittheband#/group.php?gid=247883380213&ref=ts.

    The band has limited submissions to just one photo per person, and the deadline is Friday 18 September.

    ‘Aotearoa’ was penned by vocalist Ruth Carr while driving around New Zealand in summer.

    “At first I really bucked against wanting to sing 'New Zealand' in a song,” says Ruth. “I felt like it was kind of lame, or cheesy, or embarrassing on some level, but then I thought of the hundreds of songs in the world with other countries and street names or landmarks in them, and I thought – I live here, I'm allowed to sing about it. This is us. We are a new New Zealand if we want to be, it's our choice how we want this to go. Here is the song. It's called Aotearoa.”

    To hear the song ‘Aotearoa’, head to http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.myspace.com/minuittheband

    National start rape pens

    Shipping container cells to be rolled out
    Corrections Minister Judith Collins is tipped to announce today a rollout of shipping container cells to cope with a burgeoning prison population. Corrections has been trialling four prototype cells at Rimutaka Prison and Mrs Collins has made it clear that she sees shipping containers as a low-cost solution to the prison muster crisis. The containers cost $63,000 to convert, a fraction of the $643,000 cost per bed at the newly built Springhill Prison in Meremere, south of Auckland. Corrections say the containers can be built quickly, potentially using prison labour.

    With four prisoners crammed into each of these draconian shipping container cells, they will quickly become rape pens for the weakest out of the four. The size and number of these containers will make them impossible to monitor and there are no emergency alarms in any of them. The inhumanity that is greenlighting this abomination is based on cost savings for a prison nation National are more than happy to help build.

    National are putting into place the foundations of an empire of suffering whose septic wound will slowly seep back into society to choke us on our self righteous vengeance. The utter predictability of such base cost cutting motives is the thing to be ashamed of, the ignorant red necks win again.

    More bullshit military camps

    Boot camps offer hope to 'unexploded time-bombs'
    The Government has announced 40 places in controversial military-style boot camps will be available to deal with serious young offenders. The camps, to cost $5.3 million over four years, were one of a range of initiatives announced by Prime Minister John Key in Wellington today. The Fresh Start Offenders Package will cost a total of $59.1m over four years and will create almost 3000 places for youth in mentoring, community and residential programmes. The military-style camps will provide up to three months of residential training followed by up to nine months of support and mentoring. Mr Key acknowledged criticism of the camps received during the select committee process but said he made no apologies for supporting them. "Yes, they'll involve some marching exercises. Yes, they'll involve military facilities. I personally support that."

    This is as creepy as those Keith Quinn death insurance adverts, yes Optimist Prime, weapons training and better fitness is exactly what these 'time-bombs' need. Despite ALL the academic literature that clearly points out that military boot camps don’t work, this Government is keener on sending NZers into the Army than any modern Government. With Key’s desire to send NZ and create new joint forces with Australia and with double digit unemployment forecast, there’s never been a better time to start press ganging young people into the armed services. Is our Optimist Prime planning a future needing cannon fodder?

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Whitey wins again

    Denying Maori representation on the Auckland Super City (after National and ACT annexed the city by misusing urgency) is manifestly racist as the system denies them of any voice, when was the last Maori elected to the Auckland City council? In 150 years they've had 8 - 8 GOD DAMMIT! And this is the system so many of my garden variety bigot NZers want to hold up and claim is representative - 8 in 150 years? And this is after Maori have had Auckland land they gifted to NZ taken from them, divided up and sold from under them. To deny them representation after the land they gifted was stolen in such an underhand manner suggests those making the decisions or those supporting it have not a fucking clue about history in Auckland.

    It's a sick sad day for NZ. This is Brashism but fronted by the smiley nice multi millionaire aspirational Optimist Prime, John Key. But hey, instead of understand that, let’s have another round of distractions with more bullshit attempts to gain the legal right to belt your kids.

    How weak of Key to bow to ACT and how disgusting that National made the call on the Maori seats BEFORE they even finished the ‘consultation’ process, exactly like they did with the Climate Change ‘consultation’. How racist of Hide to force it and how sad to see the Maori Party so terribly treated. Ugh, the ignorant rednecks are marching and they are winning. What an ugly, ugly sight.

    On Auckland

    Questions in the House today pertaining to the über city:

    2. Hon PHIL GOFF to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his claim that as Prime Minister he is committed to consulting with and listening to people prior to making decisions which impact on their lives?

    7. NIKKI KAYE to the Minister of Transport: What steps is the Government taking to improve Auckland transport planning and delivery?

    8. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister of Local Government: Does he agree with the Prime Minister that “for all intents and purposes” the decision on the northern boundary of the Super City has been made?

    On the last issue of the Northern boundary - the suburban districts of Whangaparoa and Orewa should become part of the city. That is what the Royal Commission recommended as well. As you can see from my map in the submission to the commission (and then later to the select committee) the catchment of the Waitemata ought to rest with Auckland and the Kaipara catchment with whatever is North of the city. The assets currently held by the ARC in that Northern area can be retained as a legacy.Mike Lee was putting up a good fight over making the über city as greater as possible, but Wellsford is not really part of anything that could be described as "Auckland City". The city should be focussed on the urban area, not left to govern huge swathes of rural land as Lee advocates. I've seen arguments presented that the area left out of the city will be carved up by developers - but I'm unconvinced. It may be more likely that a Council of urbanites would sacrifice the rural areas for their agenda (be it conservation and locking it all up, or the other extreme of wholesale suburbanisation and subdivision) without the locals having any say in the matter. To me that is a more dangerous proposition. The large rural areas on either side of the city should run their own affairs and determine their own destiny rather than have Queen Street and Town Hall dictate their future. If they want to merge with the next rural council, or go it alone, so be it.


    Ten trill - is Uncle Sam good for it?

    NY Times reporting alarming fiscal news for the Americans and anyone touching them with a barge pole. The degradation of their accounts is escalating even beyond the crazy numbers previously thought stratospheric:

    The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget raised its 10-year tally of deficits expected through 2019 to $9.05 trillion, nearly $2 trillion more than it projected in February. That would represent 5.1 percent of the economy’s estimated gross domestic product for the decade, a higher level than is generally considered healthy.
    Each agency now says that the fiscal 2009 deficit will reach $1.6 trillion, or 11.2 percent of G.D.P., the highest level since World War II.
    Congress have enacted a $787 billion stimulus package, though less than half of that will go out this fiscal year, as well as supplemental spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bailouts for two automakers. Also, the recession has reduced anticipated revenues from taxpayers, and triggered spending for safety-net programs such as unemployment benefits and food stamps.

    Is this situation sustainable? With a deficit of 11.2% of GDP for this year the US is in such bad shape that it would be considered too financially distressed to be admitted to the Eurozone - if some benchmarking was necessary for the largest economy that's a handy one to make. And it's a compounding problem:

    The budget reports underscored another factor that increasingly is driving up deficits: The cost of interest on the expanding federal debt, which is the accumulation of all annual deficits. The debt, which was 33 percent of GDP when the decade began, would reach 68 percent by 2019.

    The US diminishes its position as the dominant economy and strongest currency every day - and this process will continue for many, many years as China, India, Brazil etc. grow, invest in infrastructure and consolidate their economic systems. Relative to other countries the US is on the slide.

    The US cost of borrowing cannot be kept at the low levels of today in this scenario. The Fed and the Treasury will have to hike up their rates to attract savings and the near-zero (and otherwise low) interest rates of yesteryear will not be possible for them in the new market and this will blow out their cost of borrowings. Rolling over $10 trillion at 3 or 4% is bad enough, imagine having to do that at 6, 7 or 8%. 9%. Nasty - very nasty. And the US becomes more and more vulnerable to flight out of the dollar as China and the Middle East develop their own debt markets and begin to use Euro and the Yuan to settle trade. Nast-ay.


    National led by ACT while Maori get told where to sit on the bus

    Henare sticks to buffoon remarks
    Tau Henare is refusing to apologise for labelling coalition ally Rodney Hide a "buffoon" and a "jerk-off" as tensions escalate over the Government's Auckland super-city plans. Prime Minister John Key issued only a mild rebuke to his errant MP a sign that Mr Hide's brinkmanship over the super-city proposal has ruffled feathers. Mr Key ruled out asking Mr Henare to apologise to Mr Hide and said he was parking it "as a minor backbench issue", though the comments were "unhelpful".

    Dear Auckland

    How are you, you big beautiful city you! I know a few if you got into that whole ‘change’ crap that National floated last year, and like good buggers at a beach cricket match, you asked Helen to hand the bat over after she had her 3 terms, and a large chunk of you didn’t even bother to vote. I understand, it all got a bit grotty last year with the right targeting Winston and Winston getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar (even though when it comes to donations from big business National own the kitchen). It all seemed yuck and that fresh faced aspirational multi-millionaire moderate PM looked like a great catch.

    That was then, this is now. John isn’t the moderate he’s pretended to be, he is hard right and he’s led now by Rodney Hide from ACT, a political party that only got 4 votes in every hundred. ACT and National annexed Auckland by misusing urgency in Parliament meaning they rammed it through with zero consultation, and Rodney got to run Auckland with his handpicked 5 mates. Rodney threatens to resign if he didn’t get to denigrate Maori, and because John is Rodney’s girlfriend, the Nats backed ACT.

    If you are Maori and you voted for the Maori Party and you are now being told where to sit on the bus by John and Rodney in your own city of Auckland, this must be a deeply disillusioned day. Where is the leadership from the Maori Party? You can’t be friends with National, hell have you seen any of the anonymous National posters on this site, they loath and hate you, sitting at their table hoping for some crumbs isn’t Mana enhancing, the Maori Party needs to walk away from National and hopefully it’s leadership will give the Greens the courage to walk away from their cosy little snuggle with National as well.

    To Aucklanders, look at the manner in which National and ACT stole your city and imposed their racist point of view, Auckland you are the most cosmopolitan of NZs city’s, you like being a bit special, you enjoy being educated and progressive, having ACT and their poodle National molest your beautiful city for their own privatization aims must make many sweet Aucklanders choke on their soy lattes.

    2011 counts Auckland, many of you didn’t vote last time and no matter how pretty Nikki Kaye is, her party and their racist, racist ways are an abomination that deserves no representation within our city limits.

    Oh and wasn’t Henare on the mark calling Rodney a buffoon and Jerk off, now Tau has to be brave and refer to his PM as Rodney’s poodle.

    The PM is challenging bloggers!

    National president Peter Goodfellow has party's confidence – PM
    National Party president Peter Goodfellow has fronted up at Parliament with Prime Minister John Key and declared that he has the full confidence of the party and its board. Mr Goodfellow, who has been under pressure over suggestions that some board members wanted him removed, said today that the end of his marriage was probably what lay behind the speculation. He wanted people to respect his personal life. "My personal life is my personal life and I don't think there is anything in my personal life that affects my ability to be president." He denied coming under any pressure to step down. Mr Goodfellow said Mr Key had been aware of matters concerning his personal life because he told him after he was elected party president. "I made a disclosure to the prime minister what the facts were and we moved on from there". Mr Key said Mr Goodfellow, who was at Parliament for National's weekly caucus meeting, had the confidence of the board. "Most people are guilty of making the odd mistake in their personal life. Most people are accepting of that. Peter has my full confidence... there is nothing I've ever seen or [been] aware of that would preclude him from being president of the National Party or an office holder of the National Party."


    WTF? Is the PM challenging the blogosphere? He is, he is challenging the bloggers to prove him wrong, are you serious Mr Key? You haven’t been made aware of ANYTHING that would preclude the utterly inappropriately named ‘Goodfellow’ from being the president of the National Party? He’s daring us, the PM is daring us that’s what he’s doing! Now a personal life is a fine reason not to dredge crap up into public, Rankin didn’t deserve to have her personal life dredged up, BUT there are times when something happens in your personal life that is well beyond just the personal and for the PM to pretend that Goodfellow falls into the Rankin camp suggests the PM is either totally unaware or he is spinning like Tony Blair.

    Whaleoil, I'm not stirring, I'd hate to see you turn on your own party, but the PM is effectively calling you a liar.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Auckland Transport Agency

    Beehive announcing an Auckland Transport Agency.

    "The Auckland Council will set the strategic direction, appoint the transport directors, including up to two Councillors, provide planning guidance and determine the levels of regionally sourced funding."
    The governance structure of the Auckland Transport Agency will be incorporated in the third Auckland Governance Bill to be introduced later this year.

    Having advocated long and hard for a transit authority and unitary authorities for Auckland I should be delighted with the Transport Minister's creation of a public transport authority - even if it is unilateral and preemptory.

    I would prefer a transit agency just for trains. An organisation focused exclusively on the train network so the job can be done properly. Because if it's just a general public transport group trains will always be sacrificed because of the higher capital outlay, even though they will yield the most efficient way of moving the most people about the city. For short term planning buses will always win out - it's just easier for them. The noisy roading lobby doesn't object to buses as they come within the same budget, but trains? Every dollar spent on the train system is a dollar off the road system and they won't be having it.

    A long-term funding for the upkeep and development of the capital infrastructure of the rail system should come primarily from a dedicated transit rate (perhaps to be struck in areas within one mile of a full service, full frequency train system to encourage more stations and lines). However the next best thing, certainly the most obvious, would be what Joyce has gone for. The provision to have Councillors directly on the board is a safe move. Two will get you the ability of moving and seconding a motion - to at least get an issue discussed by the board. That seems reasonable, even if the governing ministers will never allow that rule to be applied to their own boards of patronage. These Councillors will be like Transit Commissioners.

    The problem is that ordering of priorities, that is where rail will always lose out. The Wellington-based government will never give Auckland enough tax money to build the type of electric system the nation's Capital has had for many decades. They will always promise, but the target date of funding is always 3-5 years away. It has been this way since the 1930s. For 70 plus years electrification of commuter rail has been at various stages of 3-5 years distant. It will continue to be this way under the stewardship of this new agency.

    The Transit Commissioners will not be able to do anything about the relative retardation of rail and the Promised Land of electrification without either:
  • A dedicated rate, a dedicated petrol tax, or any other sort of compulsory levy dedicated specifically to go to rail, and:
  • A separate rail organisation funded by it, and
  • A separate piece of legislation to define it,
  • Additional central government funding.

    Auckland is going to have to find its own funding; but unless it is ring-fenced and independently mandated there will be no electrification and extension of the lines. The structures they keep throwing up will never achieve these objectives.

    And if there is a transit rate within a certain radius or radii of a station (inner and outer rates on a 1.0 and 0.5 multiplier?) then perhaps they can elect the transit commissioners since they are paying the bills/using the service? There is a logic to it. However, that's not going to happen on this government's watch.


    The new agency will work closely with and be partly modelled on the NZ Transport Agency which operates at a national level.

    The government and the current local authorities together provide about $1.5 billion per annum for Auckland transport.

    Interesting he should compare it to the NZTA. They are wanting to tax people on the motorways - a fine for having run out of gas on the motorway! What about having to pay $20 to get a couple of litres of gas from the traffic police - wouldn't that be more helpful?

    The AA spokesman on RNZ seemed like he actually wanted it - probably because they can then get their patrols to do that trick. The fine incentivises and creates a revenue opportunity for them.

    NZTA has a new rival in the ATA. And it will seek to expand into the motorway system: taxing and tolling, fining and enforcing - that is where all the agency creep will be directed. It will not be directed at improving the trains.One idea may be to have tolls only on the outer border with a ban on all tolls within the city. Freedom of movement within the city. That allows them to keep the Waiwera/Puhoi toll if that is to be the Northern border (see post below) and allows them to have tolls to the South between Auckland and the Waikato/Hauraki region. I would far prefer that than having motorists pay to transit the isthmus or have to pay for every stretch of new road separately for 30 years while an Aussie firm clips our tickets.

    [UPDATE: 26/08/2009: NZ Herald reporting that funding is still... 3-5 years away:

    The capital cost of the electrification project - double tracking, the new trains and the electrification of lines - amounts to $1.6 billion and will spread over several years.

    Mr Joyce said the Government was committed to the rail electrification project and providing the $500 million that the abolished regional fuel tax would have funded.

    "There is no more than that.

    "Mike Lee has this lovely paranoia that we are not going to come up with the electric trains and we are, but it will have to be done on a sensible basis and it will have to come within the cap of $500 million."


  • Mana Whenua - Working it out III

    It does bare repeating - as typical New Zealanders they have left it to the last moment to work something out - so some of the scenarios in my post the day after the Hikoi are eventuating:Tainui are going to boycott. So they should. What no-one foresaw was Tau Henare calling Hide a "jerk off" and wanting conscience votes on Maori representation.Henare doesn't play that game no more - that's the signal. His candid memo was put out by the PM's office apparently, so who knows what games are going on behind the scenes. What is becoming clear is that Maori are not prepared to play the lets-pretend-that-piece-of-paper-we-both-signed-in-1840-doesn't-apply-to-the-government game. That's the vibe.

    The legal fictions created over the colonial period are being challenged rather than just rolled-over. The last attempt at rolling anything over (that was seriously contended by Maori) was the Foreshore & Seabed Act and now that is about to be reversed one way or another.

    The Crown's purported remit into Iwi territory and affairs is based on a history of unilateral action and abuse - that relationship will be healed once the abuse has stopped. Having the Crown get Maori to accept something they don't need or want is yet another unilateral action and constitutes a further abuse in the "Treaty relationship."

    The series of forced annexations from 1863 - including land confiscation as far North as Mangere is a fact that does have a bearing on the Auckland Council, just as the corruptly acquired Orakei block that the City Council annexed in the 1920s has a bearing on the Council of tomorrow. These are Maori territories yet to be settled.

    From 26th May:

    Following yesterday's impressive hikoi and the solidarity amongst the present Mayors (not Banks of course) there is optimism that some sort of Maori representation in Auckland will come next year. But the logic is that if the Crown does not recognise Tangata Whenua authority and if they deny a right to participate at the top table of governance in Auckland, then they - as signatories of the Treaty (that made the government possible in the first place) - should be able to exclude themselves completely from anything to do with the new Council.

    The Crown could recognise them and their territory held under tikanga Maori directly as the republican form of settler government does in the US (although they use the word "sovereignty" when they speak of the relationship between the federal government and the native American nations). That's if a compromise cannot be reached. That's what the Maori Party must put in the legislation if no reps are on.

    The irony in all this is that the local Iwi want an inclusive model, but the government's intransigence and their suggestion of a Maori forum instead could be viewed as a type of separatism. What would wake the government up? Threaten to take it to that level - put it on the table - so the government are aware of the alternative.

    Hide goes on about "one man - one vote" and now Sharples seems to have tried to work that into his proposals. He was talking about using the Maori Roll yesterday on RNZ - that would give the Maori Party possible advantages should they want to pursue local politics (which I'm sure they will not). Sharples was saying electoral colleges and candidates having to be Tangata Whenua as examples of the sorts of possibilities.

    NZ Herald:

    Mr Key said he had discussed with Dr Sharples a proposal from iwi for Maori representation.

    Dr Sharples said the iwi proposal by Ngati Whatua and Tainui, which has gone to the Cabinet, made provision for electing mana whenua representatives to the Auckland Council.

    'We've come up with a way that we can democratically elect mana whenua on to this council our way that is still voting and still democratic."

    The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance called for two ward-based Maori seats and a third seat appointed by mana whenua (local iwi).

    Good - the compromise positions are being debated at the top level now. The government has come up with this continuum of second tier boards for the über city - that needs to be done with Maori representation as a guide so that we can get from the amorphous to the concrete.---
    Mana Whenua - continuum of options

  • Crown to recognise Iwi as being independent sovereign states (ie. before Treaty)
    Max. Mana Whenua

  • Min. Mana Whenua
  • Council to have: Present system (Local govt. forms ad hoc Maori consultative/advisory committees of invited Maori they recognise as Tangata Whenua. Option of holding referendum of total population to determine if there should be Maori wards using Maori parliamentary electoral roll, as they have done on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.)

    So it will come down to the last minute. The parliamentary select committee is due back with its recommendations on 4 September - their efforts completely undermined by Cabinet issuing what I believe John Key referred to as a "decree" banning Maori seats yesterday. However filling in those bullet points in a tight timeframe is now going to become a desperate scribbling on a page of join the dots, the outcome of which could be any shape or form - and it's probably not going to be particularly pretty either.

    What is pretty about the whole picture - or procedure? And let's not even mention the fight brewing up North:


  • Starter for 10

    Name that blogger.


    “I was just doing my job” isn’t a defense

    CIA threatened to kill children
    A veteran prosecutor has been appointed to begin a criminal probe of CIA questioning of terror suspects during the Bush administration, after details of interrogation techniques, including threats to children, were revealed. A new detainee interrogation unit is also being created to be supervised by the White House. Federal prosecutor John Durham will be appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate alleged CIA abuses, said a Justice Department official. Word of that decision came within minutes of the release of a newly declassified CIA document describing how interrogators threatened to kill the children of one September 11 suspect and may have threatened to sexually assault the mother of another detainee. The administration also announced Monday that all US interrogators will follow the rules for detainees laid out by the Army Field Manual. That decision aims to end years of fierce debate over how rough US personnel can get with terror suspects in custody. Formation of the new interrogation unit for "high-value" detainees does not mean the CIA is out of the business of questioning terror suspects, deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton told reporters covering the holidaying President Barack Obama on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

    And these are the people John Key wants us to go to war with! Can you believe that the CIA are no considered so dangerous in interrogating prisoners that they’ve had the role taken off them! What I can stand is these whiney American maggots who pitifully wail that they were just doing their jobs, we didn’t accept that at Nuremburg, we sure as hell don’t accept it now. These pricks tortured human beings and it wasn’t just a few bad apples, it was systematic and officially approved, they whole stinking shit sack needs to be prosecuted and anyone found guilty punished!

    How moral does America look now? Why the hell are we backing them up and providing them with prisoners in Afghanistan when we now know they torture prisoners?

    The whole thing is disgusting.

    Lockerbie Bomber and Scottish justice

    America has expressed their outrage at the freeing of the Lockerbie Bomber Abdel Basset al-Magrahee. “It gives comfort to terrorists all over the world” thundered the Director of the FBI.

    Oh really, does it just? Let’s just remind ourselves of the case that all this over inflated reaction is trying to obscure shall we?

    Al-Magrahee was convicted on an unreliable identification by a Maltese shopkeeper and a Libyan CIA informer. He was said to have planted the Pan Am bomb in a suitcase on a flight from Malta to Frankfurt, which went on to London and exploded as it flew over Lockerbie. After a decade of sanctions Ghaddafi handed Al-Magrahee over and he was convicted largely on the hearsay of discredited witnesses and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    His release ends his appeal so that the victims families may never really know who was responsible for the bombing. This is all made especially poignant when you consider those CIA drug smuggling rumours at the time of the trial which suggested the CIA used airport luggage to transport drug money and this system was infiltrated by the bomb explaining how it managed to avoid Frankfurt security. I’m sure dropping his appeal gave a lot more comfort to the CIA than it did for terrorists around the world.