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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tui isn't a sexist bloke beer drunk by NZ men with all the social skills of crack addicts - yeah right

Tui pulls out of meeting with feminist group over 'sexist' ad Auckland Feminist Action is "disappointed" after a Tui beer spokesperson pulled out of a planned meeting with the group to discuss their complaint over a "sexist" television advert today.

So after putting up, 'Having a beer with the Auckland Feminist Group would be fun, yeah right' as a billboard, they gutlessly pull out of at least hearing how offended some women are at Tui's portrayal of them? What pathetic little wimps.

Women have to put up with being second class citizens in their own country and are bombarded by mass media crap that no one needs in terms of their self esteem.

But I don't blame Tui. They are PR spawn whom have no soul, and seemingly no smarts. Tui's catch phrase 'Yeah Right' is iconic. It has been used for all sorts of clever satirical comment throughout the years, the best ones being when Tui have a go at the powerful. That intelligence however has been replaced by outright sexism with adverts so gratuitous the only way they could be more offensive is if the male characters dipped their penis's into the Tui beer and wiped them dry on the faces of the female models.

But like I said, I don't blame Tui.

I blame the Advertising Standards Authority. They are to blame for opening the door for gratuitous sexual advertising in alcohol, and now that the alcohol industry has proven it doesn't have the maturity, the ASA must be the ones to come under fire.

In January of this year, the NZ Advertising Standards Authority removed restrictions on alcohol advertising that at the time were challenged...

Women's group fears upsurge of 'sexist' beer ads

A women's group has struck out at a change in advertising codes it says will lead to more sexist beer commercials on television.

The director of the Women's Health Action Trust said the Advertising Standards Authority had cut guidelines which prevented alcohol adverts from depicting "unduly masculine themes or portray unrealistic behaviour".

But the Advertising Standards Agency said a flood of alcohol advertisements which were derogatory towards women was very unlikely.

...Oh, they were very unlikely were they? Well hello ASA, here's Tui pushing the boundaries under the new guidelines and now you have to justify how your relaxation of the rules around sexism in booze adverts has up held standards because it looks like the ASA is part of the problem.


Why Paula Bennett is a hypocrite over welfare reforms

Bennett rejects 'hypocrite' claims

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has defended herself against claims she is a hypocrite for stripping away the rights of beneficiaries that she herself had as a sole parent.

Paula Bennett is beyond hypocrisy, she is in some special league of sanctimonious audacity. This is a woman who at 19 while on the DPB bought her home in Taupo thanks to a $56 000 Housing Corporation loan, this is a woman who while on the DPB was able to get a Training Incentive Allowance, this is a woman who said that when she worked part time she “pretty much fell apart because I was exhausted. I went back on the DPB"..

Right, so she benefitted from the welfare state, BUT NOW has killed off each of the policies that helped her? She is the same woman who is now demanding solo parents go back to work when she admits that doing so personally exhausted her and she had to in her own words go back on the DPB?

The only reason why this disgusting hypocrisy is allowed to stand is because as a nation we love bashing the dirty filthy bennie so much. The right consider Bennett a poacher turned gamekeeper, our love affair with bashing the dirty filthy bennie is alongside other favorite shire volk cultural treasures like Rugby, alcoholism and domestic abuse.

As Gordon Campbell brilliantly points out (a post the racist Holmes justifying Bryce Edwards ridiculously writes off as making 'obvious points')

Bennett and Prime Minister John Key both cited the large numbers of people on benefits as a sign that the current welfare system isn’t working. In Key’s opinion, the current welfare system is “on a pathway, in my view, to not being economically sustainable”. Well, it doesn’t take a vast institutional memory to refute the “not economically sustainable” claim. Less than ten years ago, a booming economy had reduced beneficiary numbers to historical lows. Meaning: when the economy is even reasonably healthy, welfare is eminently affordable. When it isn’t, the jobs don’t exist to make welfare reform socially sustainable.

Reason being, welfare is not the root cause of the problem. Blaming the welfare system for the current existence of poverty is like seeing the incidence of Third World diseases in this country, and blaming it on the existence of hospitals. Similarly, the social safety net does not cause people to live in poverty and be out of work – it is an effect, not a cause. And the current state of the welfare rolls is precisely what you would expect to find when the jobs market is barely off its sick bed after the global recession.

The current (and temporary) existence of large numbers on welfare is what people pay their taxes for: for help in time of need, a need which can happen to anyone. Instead, the current dire economic situation is being used as a pretext to shrink the social safety net, for reasons that have little to do with social need, or the vagaries of the business cycle. It has more to do with an ideology: Social Darwinism, thinly disguised as compassionate conservatism.

...this isn't about reforming welfare, it's about punishing those who have been determined as costing rather than contributing and the solution is a bloody great big stick wielded by a hypocrite who has no credibility.

That the weakest members of society must suffer because of an economic meltdown they had no hand in causing while the Government borrow billions in tax cuts for the rich is an obscenity.

Hilariously Paula Bennett was 15 mins late for her NZ Herald Live Chat today, hastily arranged in an attempt to counter the claim of hypocrisy. If she was unemployed and late for an interview, she'd have her benefit cancelled! The irony is simply too delicious, lap it up folks.

Paula Bennett deserves all the contempt one can muster.



Kim Dotcom's bail is to be decided today. Starts at 10am.

Ground Floor (Old Building)
(A Toohey) ( A Lloyd ,P Davison QC)
Application for Registration of Foreign Restraining Orders

The NZ Police are acting for - acting as agents of - the US government in this matter. The NZ government have thus taken sides in this dispute (that is essentially civil rather than criminal - being a copyright infringement issue) and now they bring the full weight of the Crown's institutional position upon the Mega Upload principals. Despite Kim's fame, fortune and a QC the deck is stacked against him.

Hopefully the judiciary will demonstrate that they are independent of government and continue Kim's bail. He will have to wait many months for the extradition hearing and having to wait in a remand cell is onerous.

The prosecution's contention that he is a flight risk seems self-fulfilling. It would be rational and quite reasonable for him to flee if they tried to remand him in jail on a charge that would not be extraditable in his home country (Germany). Kim's treatment by NZ authorities has been dismal. Who could blame him for fleeing a country that he deposits millions of dollars with only to have that and his other assets seized by that country's government on behalf of another country for a crime that isn't even a crime in the country he is in? Is this the way we treat our guests and residents?

Lucy Lawless and Shell Oil - who is the real criminal?

That the NZ Police have bent over backwards for Shell, is something Phoebe Fletcher brilliantly questions in her post yesterday. The farce that Lucy Lawless has been charged with burglary for her protesting against a corporation as ethically corrupt as Shell is just further proof of how far our NZ Police force have become stooges for corporations rather than the people of NZ. Their gutless complicity in the Kim Dotcom 'mega conspiracy' case for Hollywood profits confirms that suspicion.

The question has to be asked, who is actually the criminal here? Lucy Lawless protesting the despicable tactics of Shell by climbing aboard their ship or Shell, who are using the climate change caused by their pollution to drill in a fragile part of the eco-system with a 40% chance of causing an oil spill while they have paramilitary death squads liquidating opposition to their exploitation of Nigeria?

Shell is the corporate criminal here, and this type of hypocrisy by the Police and Shell deserves all the contempt one can muster. Thank you Lucy Lawless for being such a refreshing conscience in the land of the sleepy hobbits and climate denying shire volk.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Get our Mojo working

A petition has been launched to support the deaf MP for the Greens being able to do her job:

Mojo Mathers, New Zealand's first Deaf MP, is being forced to use her own personnel allowance to pay for the live closed captioning of Question Time debates.

The situation - due to a stance by the Speaker - is deplorable and something needs to be done. However I have never been able to understand why the Hansard reporters have not been able to have their real-time transcriptions available immediately. This would be of great help to all MPs and their staff and others. Now that a deaf MP is in the chamber perhaps they could make an effort. It seems like such a small thing that would be very useful. I would be surprised if it needed an extra staff member. It is something that should have happened ages ago.

Why are the police siding with Shell?

Lawless burglary conviction could 'seriously impair' travel to US

Lucy Lawless' ability to travel to the United States could be "seriously impaired" if she is found guilty of burglary following her arrest after participating in a Greenpeace protest, a legal expert says.

The star of Xena and Spartacus was among seven protesters charged after a demonstration aboard a Shell drillship in Port Taranaki yesterday.

Police officers scaled the Noble Discoverer's drilling tower to arrest the group, four days after the protest began, 53m up the ship's drilling tower.

The group would appear in New Plymouth District Court on Thursday, police said.

Though unlikely, the protesters could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, said Auckland University Faculty of Law associate professor Warren Brookbanks.

"They're not going to get imprisonment at all, it would probably be dealt with by a fine, I would think. Or if they have a good lawyer they might be able to successfully persuade the court to convict and discharge them."

Mr Brookbanks said Lawless' lawyer would most likely seek a discharge without conviction which would allow her to continue to travel to the United States - where she frequently works - without any problems.

"[A conviction] could seriously impair her ability to travel to countries like the United States, where they take criminal convictions very seriously."

Mr Brookbanks was surprised police chose to charge the protesters with burglary - defined by the Crimes Act as breaking and entering into any building or ship without authority and with intent to commit a crime.

"They could have charged them with being in an enclosed yard or disorderly behaviour or something like that. It strikes me that this is an element of overkill," he said.

The question is why are they being charged with burglary? I'm struggling to think of any other actions where activists have been landed with this rather than unlawfully entering a ship. It would seem in this instance that the police are taking a hard line and coming down in favour of Shell to stop similar actions, or that Shell's legal team is advising the police in order to attempt to control the spin around an event that is likely to be reported more widely due to Lawless' profile as an actress. In doing so, they are successfully pulling the attention off the issue of drilling and onto Lawless' career in a classic public relations move. While Lawless is unlikely to spend ten years in prison as these charges are unlikely to hold in court, the trumped up charges allow attention to be diverted to speculation over what will happen to her US show.

Under this spin, Shell are attempting to position themselves as reasonable against Lawless' actions. While the real issue here is the threat of an oil spill under drilling in the Arctic region, a region which has huge ecological significance to us all. Greenpeace were protesting against Shell's oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea, which sits between the coast of Alaska and Siberia. An area of ecological significance, the Arctic is already facing threats from climate change. The chance of an oil spill in this area is so high that the federal government's Mineral Managements Service estimated the chance of an oil spill at 40%. That's too high. Yet still Shell were provided with a permit to get the oil sitting under the ice. A look through what Shell says are its 'ecological' policies in terms of dealing with oil spills in the middle of an Arctic winter shows why the risk is that high - under those kind of weather conditions, a spill will be near impossible to control.

Anyone who thinks that Shell are for the environment and humanity only needs to look at the abhorrent record this company has had in preserving human rights. This week they will go to the courts for hearings on their summary executions of Nigerians, where they will argue it was the people who worked for them and not the corporation itself, as this article from The LA Times illustrates:

But now, the use of the Alien Tort Statute in cases of alleged corporate liability in human rights cases has come under attack from big business. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum. The plaintiffs are Nigerians who suffered abuse under a brutal military dictatorship in the mid-1990s; they sued Royal Dutch Petroleum, better known as Shell, over its alleged support of this violence. Shell is arguing that corporations are not responsible for human rights abuses under such circumstances; that individual employees who are complicit in torture, summary executions and other crimes against humanity can be held liable, but not corporations. An appeals court decided that international law, which is considered under the Alien Tort Statute, backed up that claim.

That decision misreads international law, which does not shield corporations from responsibility, and is a major setback for human rights cases based on Doe vs. Unocal. The justices will consider whether the U.S. will become a haven for companies that are allegedly complicit in the most heinous crimes or whether it will continue to provide a legal forum for accountability and justice.

This is from the same company whose former Australian head got busted on Wikileaks bragging about how her company had managed to infiltrate every branch of the Nigerian government.

And that's what is ridiculous about the coverage of this action. On the one hand there are a bunch of activists that have not harmed anyone. On the other hand there is a company that practices exploitation of humans and the environment at the highest international levels. And it is the company that the police will side with on trumping up their charges to burglary in a move that clearly won't hold in the courts, but is designed to damage the reputation of the activists and Lawless by creating a line in the media while diverting attention off the real issues at stake. Obviously that's not Lawless' career or whether she had a different opinion at the age of 23 - it is the way the rest of us will be affected by Shell's exploitation for short term gain.

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Why bashing work testing solo mothers works

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

Herman Melville

And it begins, the crippling of the welfare state using far right ideologues as a 'think tank' for welfare 'reforms' rammed through by a Minister who has cut off the very same benefits to solo mothers that she herself used when she was a solo mother is being rolled out across the country.

Paula Bennett's hypocrisy is the least offensive ingredient in this redneck stew of bennie bashing hate.

It is a blitzkrieg of hard right austerity policy, forced upon the weakest members of NZ society because of the Governments economic incompetence. The Government raised GST to subsidize a tax cut for the rich, but that GST tax rise wasn't enough and the Government have had to borrow a billion dollars, that sort of affection is not extended to those on the benefit.

In the same week that thousands of public sector job cuts were announced, in the same week Air NZ and Yellow Pages sack hundreds, in the same week the Executives at the Ports of Auckland continue to destabilize Auckland's economic well being and AFFCO follows suit with their Union bashing practices, in the same week Housing NZ close face to face meetings and launch an 0800 number after they start to throw state house tenants onto the street (expect more violence at State House offices as frustration explodes), the Government embark upon bennie bashing extremism that should embarrass a civil society.

The reason bashing bennies works so well is because the National Party have understood a truth about NZers, the working poor hate the beneficiary poor with the same visceral passion that racists hate people of different color.

The working poor look at the pittance they earn and look at the 'money for nothing' that beneficiaries get and their fury is impossible to control. It is a fury that ironically gets whipped up by National who plays to that anger by bashing bennies. I say ironically because the working poor should be angry not at beneficiaries, but at National because the pittance they are comparing against the benefit is driven by the disgustingly low wages our country earns since National's neoliberal union crushing policies from the early 1990s.

As this graph from the CTU points out, when you de-unionize a country, inequality grows...

..the legacy of a low wage economy sown by National is harvested today by generating envy between the working poor and beneficiaries. Watching the NZ public being played so effectively by National in generating that envy between the working poor and beneficiaries is a lesson in divide and rule politics.

When you empower anger as social policy by playing the poor and the desperate off against each other, you reap a terrible ignorance.

Blaming the welfare state for poverty and dependency is like blaming hospitals for people being sick, all John Key's vacant aspiration is offering you is economic Darwinism - welfare is a safety net, not a cancer to send back to work.

When the Shire Volk of NZ are getting their way on welfare, the rest of us should be nervous. 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for this.


The Universal Suffrage Project 2014

Why wasn't anyone from the electoral commission sacked for the appalling turn out in the 2011 election?

NZ believed it had achieved universal suffrage in 1893, the 2011 result showing the worst voter turn out in 120 years demands a response beyond a mere Justice and Electoral Select Committee review. The loss of blood on Gallipoli shores, the honor of medals for bravery and the battles against Nazism mean little in the fight for democracy if we allow participation at home to be smothered.

Voter disfranchisement demands an active Government, and the threat to our democracy from apathy should be seen as much of a threat as any of the wars we've fought for democracy. We need an active Government to look at new ideas and new ways to bring the apathetic and disillusioned to not only enroll but to vote.

Under the present Government, voter disenfranchisement has increased, leaving the ridiculous situation where John Key leads the country when 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for his Party.

There are 5 things the Justice and Electoral Select Committee review must look at to increase voter participation and to see the lack of voter interaction as a serious threat to the quality of our democracy. We must push for a universal suffrage by 2014 with the following 5 ideas...

1: Lower the voting age to 16 alongside civics education classes in School to start the passion for democracy at a younger age. Taxation without representation is that most heinous of high crimes against citizens and taxing 16 and 17 year olds minus their right to say how that tax should be spent is worth expanding the franchise of democracy all on its own minus the wider social good of allowing the young their say.

2: Allow any voter to go onto the unpublished electoral roll and make the process as easy as ticking a box. So many of our citizens are on the run from debt collectors or abusive spouses that they refuse to enroll so as to not be detected. Any NZer can go onto the unpublished roll but the Electoral Commission goes out of its way to demand all sorts of reasons for it to occur. If the end point is to make it as easy as possible for citizens to participate, streaming this process and making it as easy as a box tick is a priority.

3: Make the date of the election a Wednesday and make it a public holiday. We bitch so much in this country about not having a day we can celebrate as NZers because white people feel so guilty about Waitangi Day, why not search for that which binds us and celebrate that? Election Day should be a celebration because we are one of the few privileged nations around the planet that allows political leadership to change minus violence and repression. Our exercising of the right to vote peacefully is celebration in itself and making it a mid week public holiday would do more for participation rates than any single thing the Justice and Electoral Select Committee review could endorse.

4: The National Party as part of their disgustingly unethical redneck tough on crime posturing passed law stripping prisoners of their rights to vote. Removing a prisoner incarcerated for less than 3 years their ability to vote removes any connection a prisoner might have with civil society. The argument is that prisoners who are inside for less than 3 years should be able to vote because the decision of the election will impact them one way or another once they are released within the lifetime of that Government. Nationals redneck worship by stripping prisoners of their right to vote puts us on the opposite side of the European Court of Human Rights who have argued against this type of prisoner flogging. Their argument is that incarceration doesn't remove your human right to vote, this is a positron far too intellectual for the National Party who seem more comfortable at farmer shed lynchings than the finer details of how the state should treat the incarcerated.

5: Expand the civics course in schools to immigrant communities and make the course a compulsory part of becoming a NZer so that new citizens know their civic rights and responsibilities.We do our new citizens a terrible disservice by not extending any hand of welcome when they become NZers other than a certificate ceremony. How can we expect them to interact in civil society with all the autonomy citizens have if the history and cultural norms haven't been explained?

The expansion of the democratic franchise should be the main focus of any democracy, our worst participation rate in 120 years demands solutions that go beyond the passive nothings our major political parties are currently mouthing as suggestions.

NZ once led the world on universal suffrage, we need an upgrade and we need that upgrade now.


The Prime Ministers brain is missing

Key defends Murray McCully Prime Minister John Key has defended his Foreign Affairs Minister, saying although Murray McCully is not missing in action, he has "absolutely no clue" where he is.

Murray McCully is in hiding right when he is gutting MFAT, how convenient. Almost as convenient as all the emails released by this supposed Russian Cyber Criminal group who use NZ time coded computers all being glowing in their praise for Murray McCully?

Isn't it amazing that this Russian Cyber Criminal group have no idea of tactics (why give your nationality away in your name 'The Comrades') or how to change a timecode, yet have enough local knowledge to get into contact with Patrick Gower who will breathlessly do all the smoke screening while MFat gets gutted?

Isn't it amazing how each email they release justifies all the cuts Murray is making?

And John Key has no idea where he is?

Isn't Murray really the leaker?

The word farce doesn't even begin to sum this up.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Tobacco and Pharmaceutical piss up highlights Free Trade prostitution

The Free Trade deal with America that John Key has promised will reap 'billions and billions' for us (something Trade Negotiator Tim Grosser said wasn't true on the iPredict election show last year), is lined with fish hooks for the benefit of corporate America.

The Food Bill being rushed through is part of the free trade push (Monsanto's GE technology), the Dotcom mega conspiracy arrests are part of the free trade push (Hollywood corporate profits and the intrusion of American jurisdiction on line) and the drilling of oil on the East Coast (which was breathlessly reported as worth $600 million plus 3 magic beans in the weekend) are all part of this intrusion of US corporate interests trumping our economic sovereignty.

Two industry's in particular should cause us concern. The tobacco and pharmaceutical industry have targeted these free trade deals for their specific interests to the detriment of the populace being forced to accept them. In Australia, the tobacco industry are using the free trade deal to sue the Government over their attempt to pass blank packaging legislation and in NZ, wikileaks show us that the American pharmaceutical industry has done all it can to attack Pharmac and have it removed so they can set their own prices for drugs NZers need. The US Embassy was caught out trying to turn public opinion against Pharmac for crying out loud.

So what of the judgement of our Ambassador Mike Moore for hosting a corporate piss up for the Free Trade Deal paid for by those corporate interests that are doing all they can to harm our wider interests as a country?

Calls to sack Mike Moore Maori political leaders are outraged New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States, Mike Moore, hosted an event sponsored by tobacco giant Philip Morris and there are calls for him to be sacked.

Moore hosted the Governors and Ambassadors World Trade Reception on Friday night in Washington DC which included discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement between the US, New Zealand and up to 10 other countries.

Philip Morris was one of the event's key sponsors.

Just hours before the reception began, Australian embassy staff withdrew because of Philip Morris' involvement.

...the Australians wouldn't sit down with the Tobacco Industry after the crap they've pulled, yet we did. Our judgement to sup with corporate forces that are conspiring against us is extraordinary, what else has the tobacco and pharmaceutical industry bought?

The text of the free trade deal should be open to scrutiny before John Key signs it, we've seen how comfortable he is with selling us off, so how much do you trust him now NZ?



Now we're talking:

Mr Shearer's predecessor, Phil Goff, explicitly ruled out any kind of relationship with Mr Harawira.

The new leader says he will respect ideas wherever they come from, including from the Mana Party.

He says he does not have any baggage with the Mana Party.

"I'll take them as I find them and if they turn out to be somebody I can't work with, I'll make that determination then."

Mr Shearer says he has already met with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and the Green Party co-leaders.

Mr Harawira says he welcomes the opportunity to sit down with Labour to start planning a united opposition to what he calls the anti-worker, anti-beneficiary policy that National is rolling out.

The opposition to National's coalition have to start playing nicely and aligning over some big issues in order to give people the confidence that they can work together in government. David Shearer's first steps of repudiating some of the previous leader's tactics is what is necessary to do that. His steps may be cautious and far too slow for many commentators, but they are toward the right direction: to form a centre-left administration capable of ideological coherence and thus something that may have some prospect of going beyond a single term.

At the next election campaign there ought to be a feeling of a popular front standing against the Tory's unpalatable mix of crony capitalism for their mates and austerity for their class enemies.

The question is whether David Shearer will lead and act, or chair and manage this arrangement. We still haven't got a feel for his style yet. This enigmatic aspect is no bad thing either; John Key benefited from not being able to be pigeon-holed/demonised for most of the previous term as people were left to make up their minds without a hostile media creating an adverse image. Key went for bland and that's what his public image is now (regardless of what the truth may be). Shearer hasn't got the room to do that - Phil Goff was bland enough for a century's worth of Labour leaders - so he has to live up to his 'action man' rep soon to change the record.

Shut down Kiwi FM - relaunch it as RNZ2

My guest column in Metro is out today where I argue that Kiwi FM should be shut down and restarted as Radio NZ2, and that RNZ2 would have sponsorship allowed on it to subsidize the cost of Radio NZ to the Government.

Why we are not using the $6million worth of asset Kiwi FM represents to actually lower the cost of public broadcasting to the Government while also increasing the amount of public broadcasting is a question that must be asked.

Turning Kiwi FM into RNZ2 changes the current paradigm of the public broadcasting debate by using private public partnerships to help provide it. The irony alone should appeal.


NZ Police on line censorship deserves anonymous attention

The NZ Police have over stepped their authority by such a margin, surely a short sharp shock to their online position by Anonymous is in order?

I am referring to the NZ Police censoring online medical marijuana site, Greencross. The NZ Council for Civil Liberties wrote to the Police last year demanding an answer as to why the hell the NZ Police are censoring online political sites, the Police response in December by District Commander of the Central District, Russell Gibson, was a joke...

My responsibility is to enforce the law as devised by Parliament. It is neither appropriate nor helpful for me to become involved in a debate regarding political issues.

From my perspective I am satisfied that Detective Sergeant Paroli was working within the boundaries of the law and his motivation was simply to close down a site which assisted/encouraged offending against the Misuse of Drugs Act.

...Bullshit! By censoring an online site dedicated to the political argument to decriminalize medical marijuana, Russell Gibson HAS entered the political debate and is using his Police power to decide the rest of us are not allowed to hear it! The Police have over stepped their authority by such a massive margin. They are not political censors, they are Police, it is not their role to censor anything!

Our Police forces despicable arse kissing to the US authorities in the Kim Dotcom joke of a case is disgusting enough, but when the NZ Police are actively censoring online material they don't like in NZ well beyond their actual authority, well that's when someone has to do something.

The NZ Police should count their lucky stars that this hasn't filtered out to Anonymous yet.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

NZ's got talent but doesn't got public broadcasting?

Taxpayers' $1.6m for talent show Public arts and culture funding to the tune of $1.6 million will partly pay for the New Zealand's Got Talent reality television series.

I'm sorry, what? We are going to spend the few taxpayer funded dollars put aside for public broadcasting on a bloody foreign format TV talent quest? We destroy regional TV like Stratos TV, cut secret deals for Kiwi FM to stop doing what they received the radio frequencies for in the first place, we sell TVNZ7 off to a shopping network and have the PM's electorate chair on NZ off Air censoring political docos on poverty that embarrass the Government but let propaganda pieces on health, education and Whanau Ora reforms get funded while allowing public money to waltz off and fund talent shows that will already make money?

If 'New Zealand's Got Talent' is such a ratings winner, why the hell does it need taxpayer funding? Just because they broadcast it to the public doesn't make it public broadcasting.

'NZ's got talent' could be difficult for TVNZ as most NZers who do in fact 'got talent' have already moved overseas - 'NZ's got diaspora' doesn't sound as attractive to sponsors

I list 3 ways the Broadcasting Minister can expand public broadcasting for no extra cost in an open letter in Metro magazine tomorrow.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Citizen A online now: David Slack & Dr Wayne Hope

Issue 1 - Christchurch Quake, one year on. Has the country comprehended how much collateral damage our second largest city has suffered? How does it impact people's lives and the wider economy, plus are we seeing a shock doctrine being implemented in the wake of the earthquakes?

Issue 2 - There seem to be two worlds in NZ. The first has massive inequality measured this week in a Lancet Report linking poverty to a huge increase of infectious disease amongst children. The other world has Paula Bennett justifying draconian back to work measures for lazy beneficiaries while kicking out state tenants deemed too lucky to live in mixed economy neighborhoods.

Issue 3 - Bill English gives his best guess on asset sales while acknowledging it will cost us more to sell them than keep them. It took Labour 9 years to reach this level of hubris, has National managed to do it in 4?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Friday, February 24, 2012

Open Letter to the Broadcasting Minister on Kiwi FM

I remember Brent Impey threatening to throw me out of a window in the Eagle Technology building where Channel Z was originally based for mentioning the youth radio network on the Channel Z talkback show I hosted. It's funny how things turn, next Monday I have a guest column in Metro Magazine outlining to the Minister 3 ideas he could use to benefit public broadcasting. This column is well timed in light of the recent news on Kiwi FM's quiet deal to erode the reason they were given the youth radio frequency in the first place.

In my opinion, Kiwi FM was an ingenious strategic move by Impey to take away the non commercial youth radio network which would have threatened his other youth brands of the Edge, the Rock and Channel Z. Because Labour abused public broadcasting and under funded it during times of plenty, they blindly handed 3 frequencies (let's say $6 million dollars worth of frequency) over to Mediaworks to run a 100% NZ music quota.

Sounded like a great idea, it wasn't. I argued at the time that it wouldn't work and said Kiwi FM should be far broader than 100% NZ music. The deal relied on the ghettoization of NZ music and ended up making the numbers of hours played look good because it played 100% of the time, but Kiwi FM created a play list none of the other commercial stations bothered competing with meaning songs released would languish and sink beneath the wider radio radar.

Channel Z had worked because it had a 30-70 split of NZ Music creating a playlist the other stations competed against, allowing music to be broken for 6 weeks before gaining the trust of the station music director to add it to their playlist.

It was a synergy that died when Kiwi FM became a NZ music ghetto.

I'm not suggesting that a high level of NZ Music content shouldn't be on whatever get's done to Kiwi FM, but there must be a better way of doing this and the suggestion's I make in Metro changes the paradigm of the debate and should be examined by a public broadcasting industry struggling to stay afloat in an age of Government austerity.

Metro Magazine is out Monday 27th.


Rudd's revenge shouldn't surprise

Kevin Rudd's 'stealth' attack shouldn't surprise anyone, what else would you do if you were rolled by a mining industry coup? The blind spot by the media on Kevin Rudd's relaunch of his Prime Ministerial aspirations is the manner in which Gillard rolled him. Rudd's rolling was nothing more than a corporate coup. The Mining Industry facing a super tax on their profits by Rudd went feral in their mass media advertising campaign to attack the tax as an un-Australian act of treason. They reeled Labour Party flunkies into back rooms and made threats and the Labour Party quickly found a new leader in Gillard to pacify the Mining Industry. That this angle isn't even recognized makes sense from the Fairfax media empire now a climate denying Mining Billionaire is buying shares to implement Lord Monckton's climate denial media plan, but the fact Rudd was rolled by corporate mining interests is enough to explain his desire for revenge in a way the mainstream media are missing.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


It would be a bad thing to lose on the ground foreign affairs staff, but really...

NZHerald: An axe hangs over 305 jobs - including 63 policy positions - at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Mr Allen confirmed the proposal was to have fewer diplomats and fewer policy staff, including 169 fewer ministry staff in New Zealand and overseas, and 136 positions for locally-engaged staff, including Human Resources, Information Technology and property-management.
The Maori Policy Unit would be cut under the proposals.

Among other proposed changes was to boost Wellington salaries and cut overseas allowances, including the 20 per cent increase for a partner and the 7 per cent increase for each child.

They are going to pay the bloated Wellington staff more!? Going to get rid of the Maori bit - the only thing that distinguishes NZ from Australia!? Hopeless.

I can't muster any sympathy for the culling of these policy wonk academics or any of the other staff either.

The "policy" - if the actions of the NZ government seem anything to go by - is chronic. The official stance of NZ - via MFAT - is to do whatever our supposed Anglo-American masters tell us. To join in the Israeli orchestrated walk-out theatrics over Iran at the UN; To back the French colonial occupation of the Pacific; to chair the UN Security Council when Rwanda was going into full genocide and ignore it. There are so many MFAT failures - they can't all be put down to the Foreign Affairs Minister of the day. The NZ vote in international fora is a tool of others. Our much vaunted independent foreign policy is a shallow lie oft repeated.

A round of sackings is the least they deserve; pity that won't change their "policy."

The Murray McCully email theft that reeks of Murray McCully

I don't know about the rest of you, but this story that supposed Russian thieves have hacked into Murray McCully's emails smell so bad that it bends the realms of credibility.

Why the bloody hell would Russian hackers hack Murray's emails and release emails that don't embarrass Murray? Why wouldn't it be something about the Russian NZ Free trade deal? Why were they so keen to point out that they weren't 'Anonymous'? Was it because the computer skills and imagination of whomever stole them wasn't good enough to pretend to be Anonymous and they feared Anonymous might come looking for someone who was pretending to be them? Why the hell would they call themselves 'The Comrades' isn't that like a NZ Hacker group calling themselves 'The Mates'? Isn't 'The Comrades' something someone wanting to identify as Russian would call themselves? Why bring attention to your group? It makes no sense!

So many questions and now it turns out the 'Russian hackers' were communicating through a computer with NZ timeline settings??? Doesn't this sound like a scam? Doesn't the fact all the emails released paint Murray in such a good light suggest it's Murray whose actually releasing them? Kevin Rudd released that footage of himself swearing so that he had an excuse to challenge Julia Gillard for the top job by blaming her for its release, is Murray wanting to smokescreen the fact that he's making 300 MFAT staff reapply for their jobs? That's a lot of angry baby boomers who have diplomatic means to embarrass, will 'the Comrades' release noise in the wake of any actual criticism of McCully?

'The Comrades' are either MFAT staff who are out to embarrass McCully, or they are McCully himself wanting attention on some sleight of hand rather than any real questions as to why he's dismantling MFAT while trying to turn our Aid budget into a source of income creation.

This whole thing stinks.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Greens to Labour 'we ain't your bitch'

Dear Labour Party - please say 'rebuild the middle class' over and over and over again.

I appreciate when I say it, Labour is deaf, but when Colin James is pointing it out, maybe someone in Labour should be opening their ears a little more. Put aside Colin's bitching about Labour focusing too much on identity politics (ever noticed when baby boomers bitch about identity politics they always tend to be while old men who always end up sounding like bitchy blokes not used to having to share power), but he does have a point about aiming for the middle. Labour needs to appeal directly to the middle class, as I pointed out last week...

For the first time in their lives, the NZ middle class feel frightened and threatened, Labour should do everything it can to talk directly to them and argue that a secure and growing middle class enshrines the socially progressive democracy that makes NZ so strong and connects with Labour's values of social justice. Labour could argue that when the middles class do well, they don't feel bitter about taxes helping those less fortunate. Labour need to sell to the middles classes that their well being strengthens the social contract to help others.

Wannabe Baby Boomer Tim Watkins was given an excited lap dance from Bryce Edwards for stating the bleeding obvious over the Greens (but then again Bryce is the academic who was defending Paul Holmes racism, so Bryce's endorsement is more akin to being on an NRA mailing list).

The bitterness many in Labour feel at the success of the Greens soaks through in Watkins column and seems hell bent on belittling the Greens rather than congratulating them, so let's be clear why the Greens did so well.

The Greens did so well because -

a: Labour was still being punished for the repeal of section 59 and appeared to have a weak leader and they messed up on the Party Vote side of the campaign.

b: The Greens are a generation ahead of Labour in terms of online social media. While Labour's much vaunted party machine rusts in the backyard in terms of creating turn out on the election day, the Greens had a brilliant online system that included texts and emails reminding people to vote.

c: Most importantly, the voter turn out was the worst in 120 years.

The last point seems to have completely escaped Tim Watkin, the Greens can dream of higher of they chase the nearly million enrolled voters who didn't bother to vote and their inroads on line suggest they could be a hell of a lot more successful than Watkins gives them any credit for.

That doesn't mean it won't be hard for the Greens, it certainly will be, I think that they are reaching the zenith of their political support, and the only way to increase it is by being in the 2014 Government.

That is what Turei is stating in her speech, after being the abused girlfriend of Labour for a decade, the Greens are telling Labour in no uncertain terms that the days of being used by them are over, that if Labour wants to be the Government next time, then it has to have a major part of their cabinet appointed to Green MPs.

John Armstrong also notes that the Greens need to be a much sharper opposition leaving all that Blue-Green talk to rot by the side of the organic rubbish collection.

Shearer's meeting with Winston Peters and thawing the MANA cold war are all steps in this new political landscape and show at least Shearer's ego won't burn bridges with any potential allies. The progressive majority combining Labour, the Greens and MANA would have the political muscle to make the radical changes NZ needs to combat inequality and grow the economy (NZ First is only as good as Winston's health). The CIR on asset sales and the large 'NZ is not for sale' demo planned in April could all be rallying points for the political opposition.

The challenge for Labour is not to over egg their play for the middle with the same veiled dog whistle garden variety bloke racism so often employed when reaching for the centre vote. That's why 'rebuilding the middle class' is a strong strategy because it side steps those populist traps which won't play to their core base. If Labour goes too far to the centre they will bleed more votes to the Greens and MANA, if they don't go far enough they won't win National voters and if they don't inject some passion they won't appeal to those million enrolled voters who didn't bother to vote.

The Greens asserting their political influence is the least of Labour's worries right now.


Citizen A online now: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning

Issue 1: Crafar Farm smack down - John Key told he can't sell NZ - what are the political ramifications?

Issue 2: The Urewera Court Case - show trial for an embarrassed Crown or important legal attempt to smash domestic terrorism?

Issue 3: SoE sales and strikes at the Port while Europe suffers another credit downgrade and Treasury lower growth forecasts yet again. How much fat is left to cut off the bone in NZ during such a depressed global economy?  

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The infestation of Poverty

Poverty is the worst infestation. It doesn't just infest physically, as this weeks Lancet report shockingly shows,

The study, published in international medical journal The Lancet, reveals that infectious diseases increased by 51 per cent in New Zealand between 1989 and 2008.

, but also infests into the generation after the next. It visits a terrible price on those already on the fringes. As a Nation we are creating un-people. NZers who become invisible to the State's definition of unemployed, slip beneath the veneer of an equal society into a poverty ridden zombie waste land whose reality explodes as child abuse headlines nestled between Master Chef food porn at 8.30pm.

With 200 000 NZ children living in poverty, is it cruel to play food porn to a hungry nation of kids?

The reason we can't address these problems is because we have a Government that empowers the wealthy, not the poor. National borrow for tax cuts to give the rich a break. Their wedded to the free market trickle down justification and have shrunk the ability to generate taxation to spend on the social infrastructure which is now groaning at collapse with inequality widening further than ever before.

This is a political decision. When it would only cost $30million per year to feed every kid in a decile 1-3 school. When we could be helping state house tenants buy their home and join the ownership society. When we could be investing in Community Economic Development. When we could be empowering Auckland City Council to lift it's demand for more social funding to tackle this poverty with local solutions.

When there are so many clear cut strategies and tactics for poverty reduction, we have a Government blindly following free market ideology as a default setting instead of any actual plan. 'Less Government' is not a social policy. The Cabinet has rapidly declined into a private school boy frat club clique, with a view of first world poverty that is as narrow as it is shallow.

68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for this direction.


Monday, February 20, 2012

When economic self-sabotage becomes economic treason

Maurice Williamson was on radio and TV soon after he and the other Minister had approved the sale of the Crafar Farms to the Chinese saying his hands were tied and he had to approve it. He was insistent he had no choice, although he also seemed very much in favour of it anyway. That would make quite a damning piece of evidence against the government's process as far as getting a court to reverse the decision, let alone in establishing a motive for a wider crime. As it happened the court did derail the decision, though not for Williamson's telling comments. As usual Michael Fay (the rival bidder) uses the legal system to get his way rather than possessing any business acumen; but at least thanks to his efforts the decision has to be made again with a higher threshold than simply whether an overseas buyer has the money.

The Crafar farms buy-up by the Chinese is based on LandCorp running it. So the Chinese are going to be absentee landlords and nothing more. They have no special skills or value to add to the farms or to the country - on that basis alone the "investment" should fall over.

But what of Landcorp's role? Looks like a corporate farmer from their website, with dividends and announcements to market, etc. But what they don't seem very proud of - because they don't want to mention it in lights anywhere - is that it is an SOE, a government owned company.

So we have a government owned company in league with a foreign buyer. The government itself is trying to sell off the nation's productive farmland to foreigners - in this case a front company for a foreign government. This is an astounding, sickening twist in the Crafar farms saga - a perverse situation. This has gone beyond just economic self-sabotage.

This National government will sell it all without flinching, without conscience or regard to the interests of this nation.

Keep well in mind that the reason they are selling the power companies and Air NZ off is not because of deficits or paying for the Christchurch earthquake or anything at all to do with the current situation. National have had a policy to sell off assets in the second term well before the financial meltdown of 2008. Asset sales for the Nats have nothing to do with practicality, pragmatism or efficiency. It is an ideological commitment, nothing more, nothing less.

The Ministerial approval came just a week before a trade conference in NZ where Ministers and Chinese delegates met. We hear from the Greens that Chinese officials met Overseas Investment Office staff for a briefing. This deal was a long time in the making at government-to-government level. They are fully in cahoots and no Chinese walls - as it were - and bureaucratic technicalities were going to withstand orders and undertakings made at the top.

Now the Crafar farms are going to become Chinese state assets (by proxy) with the NZ government supporting the purchase. With our own entranced, second-rate intellectuals confidently asserting that China owning chunks of the value chain - although not actually "investing" any capital beyond the purchase of the land - is going to somehow benefit the country. Some farmers have said they don't mind! Not the quickest, our farmers.

It may be that the Crafar farms represent a small area, that the overseas buyers to date only own 1% or so of total land; but an aggressive state-backed aggregator of land, like the Chinese, in for the ultra-long haul and who will not sell-down will quickly change that scenario. If the Chinese population can rise from 1% to 5% or so in only 20 years due to government policy, there is no reason why 20 years from now the Chinese (that is to say the Beijing-controlled businesses), due to government policy, may be owning well over 5% of farmland.

With a NZ government the right hand of Chinese investment we are now in the realms of economic treason.

What should really happen to Kiwi FM will be in Metro Magazine next week

Kiwi FM not so kiwi anymore

New Zealand music radio station Kiwi FM has announced it will start playing 40 per cent international content from tomorrow (Monday).

The MediaWorks-owned broadcaster has been struggling with low listener numbers since it was launched in 2006.

What is shit brown and can't fly? Kiwi FM.

Why Labour handed over $6million worth of radio frequency ($2million a frequency) to a foreign owned media company without so much as a plan has NEVER been explained to me by members of the Labour Party. When I bring it up with them now they cringe and get flustered. Now it's not even 100% NZ music, why this scam continues is beyond me. As someone at Channel Z, I told the managers it wouldn't work, 6 years on, surprise, surprise it didn't work.

What should happen to the frequency is something I explore in my guest column in Metro Magazine, due out next week. It's an open letter to the Broadcasting Minister where I point out that he could help public broadcasting with no extra cost.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Selling assets will cost us more than keeping them - the idiocy of National

You know shit is bad when the National Party online mouthpiece decides to use his blog on Stuff to peddle some smokescreen nonsense about Trevor Mallard. One of those 'keep-in-the-back-pocket-for-bad- week-Trevor-Mallard-scandals' that always seed or are fanned on the right wing blogs. Trev can be a dick? Shock. Horror. Yawn. Oh look, the National Party just imploded. How amazing the leading political blogger of the right managed to miss that in favor of Trever Mallard being a dick. Fascinatingly selective of Farrar.

Make no mistake, this is a terrible start to the year for National, all the black swans are coming to roost as the vacant aspiration evaporates before our eyes as yet another layer of pink frosted gloss that passes as Treasury growth reports turns out once again to be false.

The ideological ferver of National's free market faith has wedded them to asset sales with a sense of hubris that is creating a yawning credibility gap. It took Labour 9 years to reach this level of arrogance, National have done it in 4.

National are going to sell our assets even though the cost of selling them in lost revenue will out weigh the return.

A $6 billion return that Bill English now says is a guess.

A $6 billion return that the Government booked into the budget meaning if we get less that is deep cuts in social spending.

A $6 billion valuation that is is $800 million above the book price of $5.2billion?

A $6 billion valuation that the Government now can't sell 49% of because if the buyers dilute the shares further the Government will have to buy them to maintain 51%.

We are going to subsidize speculators with taxpayer cash????????

National then have the audacity to claim that this money will be spent on hospitals and schools like that's some kind of defense? Hospitals and schools is what we pay our taxes for, that comes out of general taxation not one off asset sales.

Key is being deceptive when he states hospitals and schools as benefactors, because there's also the $400 million investment into irrigation. We are subsidizing Bill English's brothers Farmer mates to the tune of almost half a billion bucks? If the bloody farming community is doing so well, why don't they pay for their own bloody irrigation program? Their products have never been so valuable yet we are bailing them out by selling our assets?

The final twist is that the only people who will be able to afford these shares are the same group of richest NZers who National spent 3 years giving billions in tax cuts to. Billions that we have had to borrow.

So that's speculators, farmers and the rich who have benefitted from this while inequality accelerates.

This is not the kind of NZ I want to recognize. People have to seriously think about a march against this, it's economic vandalism and sovereignty self sabotage.

National have lost the agenda from Section 9 of the SoE ACT to Mojo Mathers to the Crafar Farm smack down to the clear economic loss blindly following their free market doctrine is going to cost us while enriching them.

Nationals sudden lurch into crises mode doesn't bode well. If they are stumbling so badly now, how will the National Party deal with the stress of the economy hemorrhaging again?

When 50 000 NZers marched against mining of conservation land, John Key had to listen. If 50 000 march against asset sales, Key will have to listen again.

Meanwhile, David Shearer slips off the radar.


NZer of the Year goes to Union buster

For his services to creating anti union hysteria and manipulation of the media for corporate subsidies to Warners Bros, Sir Richard Taylor has been named Kiwibank's New Zealander of the Year.

On top of gutting actors of any employment rights, Sir Dick gets to punch Robyn Malcolm in the face with no flinches as part of the prize.

Three cheers for our ruthless entrepreneurs with no social conscience.


Got her Mojo working

The simple grace that Mojo Mathers has shown by demanding dignity at work as our first deaf MP has thrust her into a leadership role that makes every NZer proud. Lockwood Smith who has been one of the best Speakers in modern political times has badly mis-stepped here and the decision to provide the funding to meet Mojo's work needs must be resolved by next month.

Parliament just became a richer place for Mojo's stand.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hone's moderation makes Holmes look like the raving racist

The NZ Herald have done the right thing and allowed hone Harawira a right of return to the despicable racist rednecked rant by Maori bashing hate merchant, Paul Holmes. Isn't it amazing how Hone comes across moderate and informed on the issues of Waitangi Day, where as Paul Holmes comes across like a raving foam speckled extremist? Interesting isn't it? And to think Dr Bryce Edwards was actually attempting to justify the racism by Holmes.


The Rock gets dicked by Lesbians

Cost of sexist promotion to buy an overseas bride to manufacture outcry for publicity purposes: $50 000

Cost of another sexist promotion to pay for a breast job to appear edgy: $20 000

Getting caught out live on air by lesbians protesting their latest disgraceful 'win a divorce' promo: Priceless


Very, very, very angry - NZ errorism not terrorism

When this Urewera fiasco broke 5 years ago, I wrote that middle NZ would be very, very, very angry once the images were released, and here we are now with the release of those images.

As an activist, my personal position on this has not changed. Activists don't touch guns. Ever. Nelson Mandela always articulated my feelings best when he said 'the oppressor states the nature of the struggle'. If the NZ State was dragging people into the streets and shooting them while suspending elections, I'd pick up a gun and stand shoulder to shoulder, but in NZ the State 'oppresses' with proportional elections once every 3 years.

Hardly a call for armed revolution.

That said, let's be clear, Tame Iti and his merry militia are not terrorists. Fantasy role-players who were high on their own supply yes, terrorists no. Should the Police have investigated what was happening here, absolutely. If it was the National Front running around the hills with guns I would want them investigated as well, but the deplorable manner in which the Police over reacted using a TSA that was a farce, using spying techniques that broke laws and managed to terrorize Tuhoe in a police intervention that almost mirrored the original police intervention that caused Tuhoe all their grievance in the first place is criminal negligence on behalf of Howard Broad.

I also find it near impossible to believe that Helen Clark was not aware of this police action and didn't green light it. As head of the SIS it is simply not credible that she was not briefed on this.

The Police chased ghosts and ended up disgracing themselves with the resulting farce of a case that is weak at best and a joke at worst, with the millions spent on this investigation they had to show someone was a 'terrorist', which in the end turned out to be the Police themselves with their illegal spying tactics and brutal repression of the people of Tuhoe when they sent the ninja cops in.

What happened here was errorism, not terrorism. Twisted thinking of errors by all concerned. Ridiculously militant fantasies of armed revolution by a bunch of role playing activists who all should have known better and a Police force so spooked by the supposed monsters they believed they had uncovered that they themselves turned into the monsters is a legacy of idiocy for all concerned.

On the lighter side, if this actually represents the 'threat' of domestic terrorism then we can be rest assured that there is no threat.

Neither side walk away from this with much honour.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why the left should push for banning dual candidacy

The Electoral Commission has launched a site to discuss the changes for MMP. For those wanting a progressive majority, these rules have deep implications.

The threshold is important and gaining sub threshold representation via an electorate seat are crucial issues for a progressive majority and I think the quality of democracy would be depleted if they were taken away. It is difficult enough to launch a new political movement in NZ without further barriers being erected.

But those are debates for another day.

The issue in front of the left that is most pressing is banning dual candidacy. It means a candidate can't stand in the electorate AND list positions, they have to stand in one. Such a dynamic would be crucial for Labour and would see the left gain.

If you look at a range of electorates (Auckland Central, Ohariu, Waitakere), the Green electorate vote is enough for the Labour candidate to have won. By removing the Greens from the electorate seats, Labour would have a far greater chance of winning these electorates and allow the Greens to focus purely on the list vote. Such arrangements would cut out vote waste.

It would force a party to only put up candidates in the electorate who can win, meaning they would have to have deep local roots and connections with the electorate rather than the collection of carpet baggers we get now.

The left should move quickly and use the talkback generated rednecked anger directed at MMP to dump dual candidacy.

Oh the irony that would create.


Citizen A online now: Matt McCarten & Matthew Hooton

Issue 1: First week of Parliament, how did the Government and opposition do? Issue 2: Clause 9 of the State owned Enterprise ACT has been allowed to become  a treaty and national sovereignty issue. Was that political mismanagement or Machiavellian scheming? Issue 3 - The Electoral Commission rules the John Key RadioLive politics free show broke the rules while the PM's electorate chair hands out a million in NZ on Air funding for pro Government documentaries - is there a critical media left in NZ?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Dr Bryce Edwards supports Holmes racist rant

The man paid for by Farrar to promote right wing blogs under the guise of academic neutrality went a step further yesterday by supporting Paul Holmes racist rant.

Nonetheless, in his own limited and distorted way, Holmes raises important points and a legitimate perspective. Rather than clamping down on such opinions, New Zealand desperately needs an expanded debate about ethnicity and politics. So far this year, 'race relations' are dominating politics so more debate should be welcomed - but hopefully the kind that generates more light than heat.

I can hear those banjos strumming from the deep South of Bryce Edwards world. Note Paul isn't a redneck racist hate speech proponent, oh no, according to Dr Bryce, Holmes is raising 'important points'. No one in the blogosphere criticizes Bryce because they are desperate for his acknowledgment, personally I find the entire way he, Farrar and Holmes are entwined is just smelly. The only thing that is liberal about Dr Bryce Edwards is his haircut.

Mates support mates at the NZ Herald, Farrar paid Bryce, Bryce gets paid by the Herald, Herald pays Holmes. It's a circle jerk of opinion that never looked so beige and redneck.

Ugly that an academic would support the race baiting Holmes vomited up in the Herald.

Very ugly.The left need to understand Dr Bryce is just another apologist for right wing bullshit wrapped up under the gloss of Otago University's credibility. How dare he claim Holmes raises good points in his hateful race baiting.

Political academics from the deep south should be avoided like the invites to David Farrar's dinner parties.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Show trial underway

The NZ government's long, tortously long, awaited show trial for the few remaining Urewera "terrorists" has begun this morning. The 12 people good and true about to embark on what the Judge was warned is possibly a three month long (waste of their time) episode to determine the facts in this extraordinary case have been empanelled. Why Tame Iti's peers will be selected from the Auckland jury rolls (rather than from the Urewera where he lives and where the alleged offences took place) is itself something of an injustice; not to mention the gross intrusion and unlawful roadblocks set up by the NZ Police during the "Operation 8" invasion of Ruatoki.

The offences by the security forces outweigh any alleged offending by anyone in Tuhoe territory. The only people with masks on, toting guns, menacing the public and acting unlawfully in this case have been the NZ Police - that will not be forgotten.

According to an indictment filed at the Auckland High Court last September, the Crown alleges the accused were members of an organised criminal group between November 2006 and October 2007.

It is alleged that the group would have committed violent offences including murder, arson, intentional damage, endangering transport, wounding with intent, injuring with intent, aggravated wounding, discharging a firearm or doing a dangerous act with intent, using a firearm against police, committing a crime with a firearm and kidnapping. The Crown have also listed the guns which they allege the group had. They include a sawn-off shotgun, a Lee Enfield .303, a rifle, a sawn-off rifle and four other rifles.

It is also alleged that the group had Molotov cocktails and semi-automatic rifles, including an AK47 style rifle.

Thirteen of the original defendants in the case had their charges dropped after the Supreme Court ruled that video footage taken by covert cameras was inadmissible.

The Arms offences are to do with possession rather than use - so they are at the shallow end of the pool as far as possible penalties goes should they be proven. The criminal group association is similarly light despite the tone and scope of the language employed by the prosecution.

I have to note that the charge of swearing an oath to commit an offence (sitting next to to the sedition offences that were thankfully repealed from the Crimes Act following my own case) have not been brought. This would have been the meat in the sandwich which would have shown some form of intent on the part of the defendants to do something criminal, however because that threshold was obviously not met what the Crown is left holding is a limp couple of slices of thin cut white bread. How can it be a criminal group if they never made a commitment to do anything unlawful beyond the mere alleged possession of firearms? There is nothing in that sandwich - no butter, not even margarine.

The charges have been dialled down so significantly that the four and half year wait - during which time the defendants have been under restrictions - should be reason alone to throw it all out. But too much has been spent, invested as I'm sure the NZ Police would view it, in this show trial for the Court not to progress with it such are the pressures from the Crown agencies involved.

Most of the conspiracy offence will hang on the Crown trying to prejudice the Jury by way of using what evidence they have managed to get through the gate to paint a picture of dangerous and unhinged people with lashings of drugs and guns thrown into the turgid mix. If they can get sex in there too somehow they will. The public is a vital part of the equation. The purpose of a show trial is to convince the public of the existence of an enemy - an internal threat - which justifies an enlarged and heavy-handed security force. So far however all the police have managed to achieve is to have replaced the balaclavas on their faces with a lot of egg.