41 thoughts on “General debate, December 9, 2012

  1. Well, you best get used to it, we’ve got a good few more years of his government left yet.

    I’ve ranted a good few times on Labour and their penchant for acting altogether not like an electable party, a quick search found this fun thread from July 2011, scroll down a bit to where Photo wades in…

  2. I don’t think we will ever recover from this Government, let alone the 3 decades of neo-liberal fuckups that preceded them.

    Maybe that is why Labour’s parliamentary crew are more concerned with rearranging the deck chairs in opposition, than fighting National.

  3. dave stringer,

    Still maintain the ratio is 15% Research to 85% Development.

    Sure there are geniusses in the laboratory but I bet that in most companies the bulk of work is in product development.

    Development bought about by satisfying and exceding customer requirements.

    I could list a whole lot of failures that never made it from research to development to sales to income.

    I’m sure you could as well.

  4. Some interesting observations from my time as a partner in an R&D oriented consultancy.

    1. No customer survey ever defined the following products as ‘needed” prior to their production
    – Striped Toothpaste
    – Smart phones
    – Cameras in phones
    – PCs
    – Nautilus fitness equipment
    – Post It glue
    – Jumbo Jets
    – Consumer video tape recorders
    – Blue tooth hearing aids
    – The fax machine
    I could go on for pages, but the point is that innovators, not engineers or salespeople or marketing gurus or any other ‘professionals” develop the things that change our world based on their imagination. Sure, the concept gets given to these people eventually, but it’s the spark of genius that gets these things started, simpley because the genius says “why not” instead of “why”.

    2. Most of the greatest innovations of our time were rejected for a VERY long time before they were given commercial funding. Imagine the scenario: a developed goes to his boss in a glue empire (3M) and says “I’ve got a glue that doesn’t permanently stick!”, yeah right! Says his boss. Years later no one can do witout a few dozen bits of paper in their draw that have glue that doesn’t stick permanently to stuff! (the story is well documented in a book called “breakthroughs”, as are a few others.

    3. New Zealand’s great innovators, in the main, leave the coutry once their innovation is commercialised – because the envious put up the label “Tall Poppy” and the innovator decides staying is not worth the effort.
    HAts off to Sir Peter Jackson who, despite the envious, has stuck around in his home town.

  5. Kerry Thomas

    The rest of us support the farmers right to put a tractor on the steps of Parliament…

    I don’t really agree. You can be anti-establishment but also want protest to be lawful. When National MP Shane Arden drove a tractor onto the steps of parliament he was actually breaking the law. He wasn’t prosecuted of course, because farmers hold a lot of power in New Zealand.

    When Shane Ardern and his brother threatened their local council with legislative and legal action if they didn’t give them rights to water supplies, that’s the kind of activism I don’t agree with. That’s the type of protest that supports authoritarianism.

    Everything Hekia Parata touches turns to shit

    As the clear frontrunner at ignoring advice, flip-flopping and generally stuffing up her portfolio, Parata has displayed a level of incompetence any Minister in all of New Zealand’s political history would have trouble besting…

  6. SPC,

    regarding manufacture and sales staff, that is more relevant to upgrading existing models, not real R and D innovation.

    Most companies don’t do 100% research into new products. Mostly they develop (the D in R+D) existing products to better customer demands and expectations.

    Sure research take place but I would suggest at a ratio of 15% research to 85% development.

    Even then the research has to meet with the company’s capacity to manufacture and product mix to meet customer expectations.

    Research is done mainly by smaller companies or individuals at an entrepreneurial level (like the walking skeletons for paraplegics).

    F+P would not have invested into that type of product as the cost involved, lead time and returns would not be there.

    They would rather purchase the rights to manufacture, or buy the company, then invest into research.

    Most research like the walking skeleton is better done at universities.

  7. gerrit, regarding manufacture and sales staff, that is more relevant to upgrading existing models, not real R and D innovation.

  8. bjchip, the main point I took from the article was that innovation (as in new models) was now in 2-3 year cycles, thus the advantage of offshoring production offshore for lower labour costs was falling. Thus the best site for the R and D was becoming more important – thus (innovative) production would either remain or return to the USA.

    If this development does play out, then it is quite possible F and P R and D might stay in New Zealand.

    The other point was just basic flat heirarchy production line staff led improvements in design to existing models if one has the right staff. That is more releant to the cheap productioon line needing to develop staff to assist in adding value to existing models – so that the old models have a longer production run.

  9. Greenfly I most certainly do blame Eric for what he allows to be printed in his name. He is supposed to be one of National’s greenies and has a good understanding of climate change science and clean energy, yet he has sat on his hands for four years and obediently followed the party line. When non Green Invercargill citizens contact me (as a past Green candidate) about issues that concern them rather than their MP, it says something about his effectiveness.

  10. Eric Roy doesn’t write that clap-trap, bsprout, you can hardly blame him for what’s published in hisname. Better to blame him for his disgraceful inaction in the electorate he purports to represent. He’s almost as absent as Bill English is from Clutha/Southland.

  11. ECAN was clearly dysfunctional, which is why the government stepped in.

    Possibly, but given that it was dissolved by fiat (on the recommendation of the Creech Report) about 6 months after the Government commenced a review under s24a of the RMA citing the reason that it was “is holding the Canterbury region back”, the justification is somewhat post facto.

    The fact that this government has elected not restore the democratic processes for the regional council 3 years later is also telling.

  12. Oh, sorry, Arcana, I didn’t make my point clearly enough.

    Point taken. You cannot answer the question, so avoid it.

    It’s also a shame you disrespect our culture and language, but we’re used to that….

  13. If you think Teachers get their official holidays you are just showing your ignorance of schools.

    So if they supposedly do a lot of work during the holidays, then strike during January. The state will be deprived of that valuable work for a day, and – as a bonus – kids and parents won’t be greatly affected.

  14. In fact it is obvious that the majority in Christchurch want to run their own community, not follow dictatorship from Wellington.

    So, when the farmers of the South Island wish to run their own affairs, and not follow “dictatorship” from Wellington when LabGreen is in government, you’ll be fine devolving environmental decisions to them?

    ECAN showed that NACT are perfectly ready to override democracy whenever it doesn’t provide the answers they want.

    ECAN was clearly dysfunctional, which is why the government stepped in.

  15. Arcana. If you think Teachers get their official holidays you are just showing your ignorance of schools. Though they should. Teaching is far more challenging than shifting papers from the in tray to the out tray.

    In fact I can say from personal experience it is more challenging than starting a business.

    As for democracy, I do not recall anyone in Christchurch getting a chance to even discuss what Parata is doing. Let alone vote on it.

    And. Even for those who believe in “representative democracy” a contradiction in terms, the party that wanted to stuff our education system, for some right wing competitive god, only managed to get into parliament because of a gerrymander with National.

    How much of the vote did they get again?

    If the majority ‘voted ‘ to follow the fuckup that is the US school system I would live with it. BUT THEY DID NOT.

    In fact it is obvious that the majority in Christchurch want to run their own community, not follow dictatorship from Wellington.

    ECAN showed that NACT are perfectly ready to override democracy whenever it doesn’t provide the answers they want.

  16. Oh, sorry, Arcana, I didn’t make my point clearly enough.
    Your question is shallow, transparent, a diversion, feeble, not worth responding to, typical rigid-rightwing self-deception and boring to boot.
    Any other questions?
    Happy to help.

  17. Avoiding questions again, Greenfly. Not unexpected.

    “Should the rest of the population strike each time they don’t agree with something? Is such an action always *justified*? When might it not be justified?”

  18. Arcana – do you have a faded copy of “Arcane and Pointless Diversions for use by Shortsighted Torys”, in which is written a list of stupid questions such as your, “But what if everyone did it” *said in a bleating tone?
    Everyone is not doing it.
    Go back to your dog-eared copy of “Arcane and Pointless…” and tear that page out. It has never had any value.

  19. Teachers do have long holidays, compared to other workers.

    As for the rest, I do believe in democracy, for all its faults. I believe in clear lines of responsibility. I do not believe in suppression of freedom of speech.

    There will always be people who disagree with decisions. That’s life. They can voice their opposition. That’s democracy. Whether they choose to then trample the rights of others – and dictate their jobs to them – just because they didn’t get their way as the result of a decision making process is…..questionable.

    Should the rest of the population strike each time they don’t agree with something? Is such an action always *justified*? When might it not be justified?

  20. Authoritarian followers are the ones that say. “He deserved it” when police arrest or assault a peaceful protester.

    The rest of us support the farmers right to put a tractor on the steps of Parliament, and students rights to protest student allowances, even if we think they were being stupid opposing a fund to cut stock methane emissions. Something which would have made their farms more productive and cheaper to run long term..

  21. Arana’s comment. “Teachers have long holidays” has proved that she/he/it has absolutely no idea about what Teachers do or what happens in schools.

    She/he/it should also look up authoritarian followers and consider what happens when there is blind obedience to authority, no matter how venal, incompetent or corrupt.

    http://www.whale.to/b/authoritarian_followers.html

    “Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. … And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away. Bob Altemeyer

    I am convinced that at least a third of the population is what Eric Hoffer calls “true believers.” They are joiners and followers . . . people who want to give away their power. They look for answers, meaning, and enlightenment outside themselves. ….They are followers, not because of a desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy their passion for self-renunciation!” Hoffer also says that true believers “are eternally incomplete and eternally insecure”! ……The Moral Majority is made up of true believers. All cults are composed of true believers. You’ll find them in politics, churches, businesses, and social cause groups. They are the fanatics in these organizations””.

    “It is more than just gullibility that explains the phenomenon of the authoritarian follower. Can you imagine John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, or David Petraeus going against the will of George W. Bush on any matter when he was in power? That would be highly unlikely because their positions of high power depended entirely on putting all their energy into anticipating the needs of and pleasing their “leader”. George Bush started out the same way. As governor of Texas, all his efforts went into pleasing his corporate cronies. In return, they rewarded him handsomely by ensuring his material wealth and serving as a power base for his climb to the presidency. Lobaczewski describes the process as one of sycophancy: “They initially perform subordinate functions in such a movement and execute the leaders’ orders, “”

    Of course
    ‘Authoritarian followers” are not always extreme right wing. We have some examples in the Labour party right now.
    On the standard even the right wing commentators are opposing the attempts by authoritarians to restrict free speech.

  22. We had a superb apprenticeship system which we threw away to get bums on seats for commercialized tertiary providers.

    Second mates now have are only required to have a year at sea and do their training at a desk otherwise.
    A nightmare for Masters on already undermanned ships, when they come back with a certificate.

  23. I would go a bit further and say neither should be allowed out without someone who is used to wearing a hard hat, for real.

    A machinist or someone else, experienced, from the floor.

    One particular episode was when sales/management booked 600 cars on the Union Rotoiti.

    The one that always gets me, though is when shipping company sales reps continually pee off customers by overbooking 40%, No matter how many times they are told that absolute maximum is —–.

    Building, I only ever found one architect and one engineer that was any good. Both women :-) , and both started as builders who went back to university.

    The rest cost our customers lots of unnecessary extra money. The architects wanted to make a pretty picture and the engineers wanted a brick outhouse to cover them selves.

    And. like Lawyers and accountants, the first thing they want from the builder is a piece of paper, saying they will not take responsibility for any of their f—ups the builder does not detect.

    After years of experience with people trained at a desk at university, several years at Uni and polytechnics, my opinion has become, that no one should ever go to university without at least 5 years in the real world, first.
    It is wasted on those who have no experience on the tools.

  24. no salesperson should be allowed anywhere without a collar and a lead with an engineer on the other end of it.

    And no engineer should ever pull out a pencil and blank paper without listening to what the customer wants. Sales people lead the engineer to the customer so the engineer can design the products the customer wants to buy and are profitable to the company that employes the engineer and salesman.

    Hence the R+D people need to be where the sales people are.

    A good R+D department works hand in glove with the sales staff.

  25. Well – according to the story the inclusion of the factory floor leads to rather greater efficiencies in production than you might have enjoyed back then as well, though I do agree that no salesperson should be allowed anywhere without a collar and a lead with an engineer on the other end of it.

  26. bj,

    Maintaining R&D separate from manufacture is not as effective as a way to do R&D.

    Partly (90%) agree. R+D must be on the same site as the sales force, production planners, purchasing department, financial controllers, management, etc.

    On the same site as the actual fabrication is not as critical.

    Back in my collar and tie days the R+D was in Sydney meaning very little R+D was done specifically for the NZL market.

    What we missed was the ability to discuss first hand with the R+D “boffins” what the customer wanted, what the factory could produce, how the products development, production and sales was going to be managed and financed.

    R+D is not a seperate function within an organisation, it is part of a single entity that does best with input from all branches on one site.

    You can have the “head office” function in one location and physically manufacture in another but then you run into not having a direct hand on ability regarding quality control, distribution, work flow and factory capability.

    No once the head office function leaves, so does R+D. Usually to where the factory is, but not always.

  27. No… that was a significant part of the point of the article. Maintaining R&D separate from manufacture is not as effective as a way to do R&D. That R&D will be gone in a decade. Maybe less. If there is no manufacturing here to back it up.

  28. If that insourcing story is accurate, it may explain why Haier bought F and P. Maybe they will maintain the R and D and related innovative production here.

    dbuckley the real story, in the delay to peak oil hitting, is the future decline in dependence on ME oil and Russian gas for Europe and the USA (their market is now Asia). That has geo-political implications for the rise of “BRC” in the first half of this century.

    As to emissions and GW, the transfer from coal to gas in the USA is a positive – it means the USA will be able to meet easy/lower level emissions cuts. As this is without cost it may financially contribute to clean energy in the third world (though this is not going to be easy during the current budget rounds) and further work that has begun on developing a (more efficient) energy transmission network capable of taking in renewable feeds.

  29. The former energy minister is merely a higher grade of political hack. Look at how he phrases his statement about “peak oil theory”. The man couldn’t even explain that correctly in his haste to sing hosannas to the great success that is fracking the planet.

    :-)

    I daresay that just about anyone actually posting regularly on this blog INCLUDING Photonz would be able to spot his mistakes… which given his former position explains why he needed to be fired from it. One only hopes he was, I doubt that the general public is so wise.

    :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

  30. … that and the fact that the Mail is one of the most reliably misleading of all the fishwrappers and birdcage liners.

    Oh indeed, but the piece in question was a gues editorial written by a former energy minister, rather than a typical hack.

  31. There was never really much chance that a shortage of resources would do the job DBuckley. I once hoped that but realized that at the prices that we could pay, there was more than enough burnable stuff to stuff up the atmosphere and climate quite completely thanks… that and the fact that the Mail is one of the most reliably misleading of all the fishwrappers and birdcage liners.

    Monbiot discusses this as well someplace… hmmm…. and gets it somewhat wrong as well…

    http://energybulletin.net/stories/2012-07-30/monbiot-peak-oil-u-turn-based-bad-science-worse-maths

    Understanding the limits of the fracked resource makes for some pretty dismal expectations for the future of the extraction based energy sector and its effects on the planet.

    …and the question of how much of what remains to be burned at what price is sort of hard to fathom… but there’s no point in relying on the market to fix this. Not until we put a price on the CO2 emitted.

  32. Crown ignores P contamination

    The problem is that property owners have a lot to lose financially if the house they own is found to have been used to manufacture the drug known as P, and the same can be said for the Crown. That’s why the government has done nothing to fix this issue…

  33. And in other news: Thought we were running out of fossil fuels? New technology means Britain and the U.S. could tap undreamed reserves of gas and oil

    For the world as a whole, technically recoverable gas resources are now conservatively reckoned to amount to around 16,000 trillion cubic feet. In short, as a result of the shale [a/k/a fracking] revolution, the Earth can now provide us with about 250 years’ worth of gas supplies.

    The so-called ‘peak oil’ theory, which suggests that within the foreseeable future the world will run out of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — has never looked more absurd.

    I thought Peak Oil (which remains a geologic certainty, the only uncertainty being when) might save us in part from global warming, but looks like that is scratched. Oops.

  34. The second Deloitte’s report on the MSD kiosk fiasco is out, and it’s a very good piece of work, downloadable from here.

    Anyone in a business who deals with IT or has an IT component should read the section starting on Page 14, Business as usual security, and see how you measure up.

    This has been a public service announcement, we now return to you regularly scheduled programming.

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