81 Comments Posted

  1. No dramas Fly – we’ll purge both ends and tie a balloon to the back of ‘is neck so we can spot him o/s.
    Froggie; A Fresh ‘General Debate’ Thread and one for Sue dontchya reckon?

  2. sue bradford is on national radio after the 10.00 o’clock news..

    frog..will you be posting her valedictory speech up here..?


    was her hair-do a ‘maggie thatcher’..?

    or that woman from ‘are you being served’..?


    she could have stepped straight into a part on ‘mad men’..


  3. It’s a ‘Full House’ in the letters to the Editor section of the Southland Times this morning – 5 letters challenging the National Government – one from our local Labour MP exposing the scaremongering over ACC and the remaining four letters all from Greens: the first explaining the harm done by National to survivors of sexual abuse through cuts to ACC, the second a plea for more responsible action over plastic bag use, the third an excellent description of the innequalities in New Zealand exposed by the publishing of the Gini Index and the fourth, a description of the changes National has planned to the Water Protection Orders for the Mataura River and the influence the lignite mine and the coal-to-urea plant is having on those moves.
    To top off such a strong showing from green writers (and the red MP), the editorial follows up on yesterday’s article from Stern on meat eating and includes this comment:

    The Times in Britian has noted, sardonically, that about 40 percent of the world’s cereals are used to feed farm animals, ” mainly for the satisfaction of the world’s richest consumers”, whih seems greedy when nearly a billion people out there can’t get enough food for themselves. Does anyone really beklieve that this isn’t a thoroughly bad thing?

    Good start to the day, that!

  4. Actually it’s scheduled for 5.45, immediately before the dinner break, but because we’re in urgency the programme may shift. Stay tuned.

    It will be a sad day for me. Sue and I have worked together in community-based organisations and on a number of issues for many years (and been arrested together often enough!) It’s been a huge honour to also work with her in Parliament over the last year. I’d have liked to continue to do that for many years hence.

    I’m confident though that she and I will continue to work together towards our shared vision, albeit in different roles. Go well Sue!

  5. He is Mark and it’s terrible to see him in this state. We’ll need to give him a good shake down and a feed of organic veg before we take him anywhere!
    (He could probably do with a week here in Southland, breathing our clean and bracing air, chawin’ on swede and getting back to his roots…but sadly that’s not going to happen anytime soon, despite his cameo yesterday).

  6. Invercargill celebrated the capturing of the Shield by the Stags with a ticker-tape parade through the city yesterday and who should be sitting, propped up like a side-show ping-pong ball-swallowing clown, in the rear of a car, with his just-returned-from- another overseas-junket mate Eric Roy, but Sir Double Dipton, looking wooden and gaunt. No one recognised the man. Some in the crowd called out, “Who’s he?”. Bill set his jaw and thought, ‘They’ll know me soon enough. Wait til they are subject to my breathtaking television series on The Economy. I’ll be a household name!”
    Indeed. Household is the issue Bill.

  7. There is a nice irony here. I am familiar with the Ashby high rise development which triggered the latest round of support for stricter zoning and it (and a few others) is a consequence of the fact that Houston is now one of the fastest growing urban areas in the US and one of the fastest growing employment centres in the US.
    This rapid growth is largely the result of Houston having low cost housing and low cost industrial and commercial property because of its lack of formal top down zoning. (HOmeowners Associations are the norm so most new residential areas have a multitude of covenants but they are managed by the residents – rather like the residents’ associations in high rise towers here). This post puts the contrary view:

    “Right. Let’s put people who never met a bottom line be in charge of restricting land use so we can drive up the price of real estate here. They’ll create a park like setting, free of cars, where every home must have a mandated front porch and a birdbath in the back and other fine amenties thought attractive down at city hall. If the poor and middle class are priced out of the market when we restict supply, they can live outside Houston. If, like every other big city with such controls, taxpayers have to subsidize the planner’s vision with far higher taxes and home prices cost five to ten times a median salary and we lose employment, so what? We can be just like all the other fine garden spots where police, teachers and firefighters can’t afford to live in the city limits. We have the best middle class standard of living of any major US city because our real estate prices are lower than anywhere else–let’s junk that and become LA!”

  8. “More than two-thirds of Houstonians are ready for tighter land-use restrictions in the wake of several high-profile conflicts between developers and neighborhoods in recent years, according to a Houston Chronicle poll.

    Out of 601 people surveyed between Oct. 12 and 15, 71 percent said they strongly or somewhat agree that “Houston should enact tougher land use restrictions.”

  9. Mark,
    There are some very intelligent cops out there, though one only has to watch the news or walk around town to know there are some very thick ones as well.
    Problem is, the demand for cops far exceeds the supply at the present pay rate in the intelligence and fitness levels that would be optimal. Thus we get these thick-shakes (though the story is actually American, btw). I say we should increase pay, increase the supply of cops whom are not mentally retarded.
    Saw an interesting stat yesterday; 3% of the population is mentally retarded by the standard psychological definition. A lot more are pretty close. Anyone know if the mentally retarded are allowed to vote? We are talking more than the combined act and greens vote not being able to understand anything of significance. Though I suppose thats not surprising since people still don’t understand MMP, and Labour was in 9 years, and national is in now, and people believe the bible to be the literal truth, and libertarians exist, and anarchists exist, and communists exist, and people actually support not-PC, and people actually buy into the PC bulls*it, and …

  10. Affording Human Rights to individuals and obeying the Law themselves are regarded as optional, inadvisable rights by many NZ.
    I wonder what happened to the ‘drive for a higher standard of recruit’…Probably not possible as the Brain Drain has really happened to NZ.
    Corrupt is not a strong enough term.

  11. …lol…

    …overdosing on weed…
    …physically impossible…

    …some genius cops out there…

    …and corrupt at that…

  12. RE: Licensing or joint venturing intellectual property.
    Naive people always argue against licensing intellectual property but they forget that patents expire and eventually everything can be re-engineered. And there are few if any serious patents in raising beef cattle.
    So if you do have home grown know how you face a choice of watching other entrepreneurs drive you out of their markets (and the Greens should be aware of the strong campaigns for “grow local”) or you move to share in those markets yourself. The normal best procedure is to joint venture marrying your local knowledge of manufacture (or farming) with a resident with lots of knowledge of the local market. Also in court cases over intellectual property the judges tend to favour their own.
    The major problem with grass fed beef in the US is that the US market is accustomed to the bland flavour and extreme tenderness of corn fed barn raised beef. They will find our stonger flavoured chewable beef difficult to cope with.

    I remember when I was funding our first NZ developed anti cancer drugs and simultaneously negotiating a joint venture with Warner Lambert. Some government officials argued we should make them here and export them. At the time it cost about 1.5 million to research meta amsa (an anti-leukemia) and the cancer society had not patented it (naive public benefit notions) and it cost Warner Lambert $200 million dollars to register it. Needless to say the officials were not about to come up with the 200 million and needless to say we had no one in NZ with the skills or credibility to get the drug registered. Pharmaceutical companies are companies that know how to get drugs registered – just as major construction companies are companies that know how to get permits for major buildings.

  13. quality of life issues…. If I’m lucky I’ll have time to read more tomorrow.

    Is this intentional? It IS very clever. 🙂


  14. After the panic (I’m up to chapter 3) is a must read. It isn’t just about where to invest but looks at where NZ is/n’t going ( basic structural problems). The bit I was just reading is about GNP and how it is a flawed measure of well-being, one interesting point is that our GNP is lower because we had a high home ownership rate so payments to landlords don’t show up. He is discussing quality of life issues at the moment. If I’m lucky I’ll have time to read more tomorrow.

  15. Re Tolley, Key and English’s rushed and ridiculous changes to education, this description is on the button:

    The new curriculum, which also comes into force next year, was debated and discussed by teachers and academics over several years and now, within the space of months, we have something which is counter-intuitive to that, not owned by the sector, not believed in, and yet expected to be put in place,”

  16. Haven’t seen the Promo – no more Boxing Bill – getting punched round the ring like that is painfull to watch – unhealthy too…

  17. Phil – can you make use this little thought at all, at all?

    What brought Super Bill English (Man of Steal) to his knees?


  18. Phil – for the record, Dipton’s too small for Bill and for me – he used to live there and I never have.
    My hamlet’s altogether more lovely and we’re MP-free ( that’s something we do share with the Dip ).

  19. (and fly is from dipton..!..)

    yep..!..it is kinda creepy…

    and they used the same make-up artist that clark used for those photos she did where they plastered the make-up on with a trowel..

    and it is so much a p.r.attempted-rehabilitation..

    as to be a joke..

    ‘trust me..!..i’m bill..!..

    just forget all about that ‘silly’ rorting business..

    (and the ongoing investigation by the auditor-general..)

    look..!..over there..!


    would you believe that..?..

    and all my own work..!”

    it all makes you wonder if he has been given an early indication of a ‘curly’ finding..

    by that auditor-general..

    b.t.w…when does that come..?

    the suspense is killing me..


  20. Oh dear, yes. I wondered what was going on. One can only hope that 7’s coverage during November will be more even than the promo suggests. I won’t hold my breath.

  21. Well you Greens would do well to work out which of you is gonna be PM – persomnally I think there are more likely contenders than any other Party.
    But the way National/Labour are going – they could provoke a Green Landslide(?)in 2011.
    Trevor; We also get a better price for our high quality NZ Oil than we pay for the muddy pollutin’ imported stuff – yes, it gets weirder still…

  22. yeah..i’ll have to agree..

    it was like watching doddery old uncle..and intelligent niece..

    i half-expected turei to reach out and give shirtcliffe a reassuring pat..

    (i’m sure she had to supress the urge..)


  23. Metiria’s back on Q&A (brave girl! 🙂 and making an excellent fist of it. It’s an MMP cage-fight, with our well dressed Co-Leader up against the cadaverous Peter Shirtcliff (?) and it’s no contest – it’s a hands-down victory to Metiria.

  24. BJK
    When an economist says one thing is a substitute for another it does not necessarily mean that it is a perfect or 100% substitution. We still ride horses even though cars reduced our need for them.
    Horses used to consume 40% of the grain grown in the US. When gas became a substitute for grain people had much more to eat.
    And we still sail on boats with sails in spite of having diesel engines and gas turbines. I have a catarmaran and two kayaks.
    But generally through human history, as communications improve there is less need for ongoing physical proximity. You may be aware of the studies that show that humans all around the world appear to be willing to spend about 1.5 hours per day on travel per year. If you are a woman in an African village you may use up your quota getting water from the well. IF you live on 5th Avenue you may walk to the office each day but drive to Cape Cod every weekend and visit France or Tuscany once or twice a year. But the overall annual travel budgets remain the same. I commute about 15 metres to my office each day. But drive to Auckland about once a month and travel to the US at least once a year.
    the other issue is age demographic. When I was young I lived in a high rise apartment in Westminster Court but also had a beach house at Karekare. Then as I grew older technology allowed me to become totally home/self employed out of the office at Karekare. Now I live on the Kaipara Harbour near Kaiwaka.
    I only lived in a suburban house (in Waitakere city) for a couple of years but recognise that it is an ideal life for the typical family with kids. Thats why the East Germans fled cities like Halle Neustadt for suburban houses when freed from tyranny and poverty even though some Swedes had declared Halle Neustadt the world’s most sustainable city. A strange measure of sustainability when it depends on tyranny and poverty to be sustained!
    I have always worked to promote choice in housing so that people can respond to changing circumstance both in their own lives and in the world around them. The central planners insist that one size fits all and it is a size which fails to recognise that technology now allows many people to live much more distant from the workplace than in the nineteenth century when they had to toil in the city and live nearby in tenements.
    What I like about the home office/residentail design in that essay it that it responds to changing technology and to changes in the life cycle of the business. Notice how working from home made the house more affordable and allowed him to pay off the mortgage more quickly.
    Most District Plans however would not allow this kind of development without a plan change because the planners don’t approve. They long to recreate the days before the car and the internet.
    Ask yourself why.

  25. How many district planners include in their considerations likely sea level rises, the likelyhood of increased storm surges and the expectation of the occassional tsunami?


  26. Owen

    “Planning is the substitution of error for chance”

    Communications is not a complete substitute for transport. People are social animals. We don’t as a rule, like going down to the fridge to socialize with the beer. We go to the pub for a beer and to socialize with other people.

    There are reasons we actually LIKE to live close together. There are other reasons we like to live far apart. I think we’re basically schizophrenic about the whole thing, wanting that splendid isolation some times and the richness of the city at others, and so we wind up compromising and living in the suburbs and getting neither.

    Don’t know about district councils. I am reminded of the Mark Twain quote “First God made idiots, that was for practice… ”


  27. Planning as it is know is actually just one damn fool idea after another.
    It never looks to the future but is totally committed to a love affair with the past.
    Have a look at the essay I just posted about residential/home office neighbourhoods.
    I suspect that there is not a district plan in the country that envisages such development and indeed it would require a plan change which would take about two years to put in place.
    Communications is a substitute for transport but the new report on urban design wants to increase densities to make it easier for people to meet with each other physically and yet the government is quite properly committed to exending high speed broadband which will promote telecommuting and working from home.
    The planners pretend it isn’t happening.

  28. My better half is doing a planning masters post grad thingy. These (above) links (and the Crash Course) all seem particularly relevant to planning as an art/science. Planning is all about looking forward to the future, isn’t it?
    Guess how much of this stuff is discussed in planning lectures/assignments?
    You got it, NOTHING!
    Just like the economist, the other day, who didn’t know what the Fractal Reserve banking system even is.

  29. Mark – the reason that we export our high grade crude oil is because it doesn’t suit our oil refinery. We get export the high grade stuff that we punp out of the ground and import lower grade stuff which our refinery can process. Our refinery can process the high grade stuff but we gain more by taking advantage of its capability to refine the cheaper stuff.


  30. “Fat Cat and Fish Face – ‘Fly By’ – classic!

    Looking for a place to lay her maggots”

    My kids love that song, especially the “oh she was looking for a place to lay her maaaaaagits ” bit.
    It is often part of family “silly” time antics 🙂

  31. Fat Cat and Fish Face – ‘Fly By’ – classic!

    Looking for a place to lay her maggots

    Is no-one awake yet?


  32. Right on – Nz should be at the forefront of developing power pack style electric cars – wipe our fuel imports Bill and we have a buffer against World Oil Markets. There is a lot invested in keeping us hooked on imported Oil – even to the extent where we export out own high grade rock oil.
    NZ is perhaps located well to be more independant in this regard – a multiplicity of alternatives are available – all kept in abeyance by international Oil Markets.
    That doesn’t make sense for geographically isolated islands such as our own – we have the technical expertise – just not the Political Will.

  33. To avoid crashing as well, we need to cut back on our oil imports. We could even become a net energy exporter and be paid for our lack of CO2 emissions. However that means persuading Genesis to build wind farms, wave generation or geothermal, not base-load gas-fired power stations. It means getting some people off the dole and working in our conservation areas dealing with pests. It means investing in technology to turn biomass into transport fuels, such as shelter-belt cuttings. It means drilling for geothermal energy, not just minerals, oil and gas. (Even low-grade geothermal energy would be useful, for space heating, drying and hot water.)

    It mean not planning for a future in which New Zealand imports LNG and pays for it with dairy products.


  34. Fair enough; – Nationalising our assets and defaulting on debt ? – well Hell that’s a Commie trick!
    The ‘Boys’ won’t like that….with a bit of luck they’ll wake up and post their Rhetoric Here 4 ya.
    I agree entirely that if NZ is not inherently wealthy enough to feed and shelter 4 million people in Luxury, someone is telling us Porkies.
    Trouble is, we HAVE sold the Farm…..things like Health, Education and Welfare sectors have been pulled apart – and often can’t be re-constructed by throwing bags of money at them.
    This Government is intent on sailing further out by Privatising prisons and killing off ACC.

  35. What needs to be remembered is that the Collapse that Orlov and others are looking at is purely the economic side of things. Both Peak-Oil and AGW have a role to play in the next 100 years and my opinion is that it will, on the whole, be one of the ugliest centuries in human history.

    Samiam has it right, and…

    Our biggest problem is that people may remember where we are.


  36. But if said collapse is coming then perhaps borrowing to the eyeballs might not be such a bad idea. As a nation we could just say ‘Woops, sorry we ain’t paying it back’ What difference would that make to a system in collapse anyway?
    4 million people, plenty of food. I’d rather be here than in the USSA

  37. Nz is doing the same as the sates – trying to borrow it’s way out of trouble – in the US’ case the numbers ($) are unprecedented.
    We wont stack up so much as go over like a bug on a bumper.
    Cheery hey?

  38. Thanks for those links BJ,

    Especially that last one, most enlighting.

    I guess it just a matter of time before the US implodes and even individual states wont be able to hold it together.

    Interesting that most seem to consider that when the US collapses, there will be no way back.

    From an environmental perspective this is really serious as the return of the North American continent to a third world standard of living, will see any greening go out the window.

  39. Gerrit

    You betcha it can happen. It is actually being predicted by a fair few people and there’s nothing at all to stop it except the Constitution.

    That’s really the kicker where it could come unglued. The Military swears their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution. What I think is more likely than the rise of a complete fascist state is a breakup of the country or a civil war… History doesn’t repeat, it rhymes.





    Enjoy. The US already has the Oligarchy though. Hard to work out how it gets from where it is to where it HAS to go.


  40. i’d vote for them..

    and a shitload of other people would too..

    (they would kick arse..!..

    and arse needs to be kicked..)

    i hope it is more than just a rumour..


  41. Cheers greenfly. Hone is one of the good guys. He must be spitting tacks about where his Party is going at the moment.

    Supporting opening up ACC to foreign business interests, under the pretence that Māori can have an involvement. Tell me what Māori owned insurance company can fornt a couple of billion dollars to get into the injury insurance market?

    Rhetorical question – I know the answer is none.

    Um, this appeared at The Standard – the Tūmanako Hai Tautoko Party:- Co-Leaders: Hone Harawira and Sue Bradford.

    Any thoughts? I think it is just silly conspiracy theory speculation.

  42. The Standard is asking, ‘Where’s Hone?’ a question I’ve been mulling over in recent days. He’ll be spitting at the behaviour of his co-leaders and has reputedly gone off. I hope he returns all reved-up, which is his best state. I like him. I hope he makes lots of noise.

  43. “Problem is, knowledge and ideas are the easiest things to export, but if you don’t retain, develop, and leverage off your bright ideas, they aren’t worth much.”

    yeah, and getting foreigners to pay you for the right to use your ideas and technology is part of how you do that.

    it’s better than trying to make money out of this technology by expanding its use into parts of New Zealand that are less and less suited to it.

  44. I’m about to submit the following “Letter to the editor”. Think it’ll get published in a Fairfax paper?

    “Detective inspector Bernie Edwards, head of the Melbourne Puranu anti-organised crime unit was interviewed on RadioNZ’s Nine to Noon programme (16 Oct.). He stated that property development was one of the more preferred methods used by the top Australian criminals to launder drug money, and that they also passed some through NZ.

    Minister Nick Smith recently admitted that the National party’s RMA changes were designed to assist developers. Since property developers are known to be important contributors to National Party coffers it follows therefore that the National Party is actively involved in money laundering. Clearly, part of the National Party’s hidden agenda is to alter the RMA so as to facilitate money laundering for its own financial gain.”

  45. “Hooray! There goes our market edge.” My thoughts exactly, I was intrigued by this bit of the article:

    “Cullen Agricultural Technologies signed a strategic co-operation agreement in August with New Zealand Agritech Inc, a New Zealand industry body for companies selling agricultural enabling technologies, including seeds, electric fences, milking machines, weighing scales, animal health products and genetics.

    “The agreement will enable a fast track roll-out and commercialisation of New Zealand pasture technology on the US farms being bought with the help of a US$150m capital raising.”

    …mainly because I’m always reading things going on about how we need to develop “knowledge industries” (or whatever the going jargon is) in orsder to compete internationally.

    At present it seems that whenever somebody in New Zealand comes up with something, it quickly gets flogged off overseas. Problem is, knowledge and ideas are the easiest things to export, but if you don’t retain, develop, and leverage off your bright ideas, they aren’t worth much.

  46. Hooray! There goes our market edge. Mind you, with the supplementary feeding were increasingly employing, it might not be long til we have our own giant feed-lots here in new Zealand. Is the very successful Mr Watson going to be charged with industrial saboutage or whatever? We’ve already begun with the ‘herd homes’ like those in Europe. Greed eh! It’s a hydra.

  47. Indeed, though I am a little puzzled as to why no one was using this perhaps ‘obviously’ superior model in the first place! I’ve noticed that saying something is ‘grain fed’ is a sometimes deployed marketing ploy, though surely in the states ‘grass fed’ would seem like the awesome one, considering how exotic it is. Also ‘normal’.

  48. “The new dairy company hopes to capture a sizeable chunk of this market over time with systems used in New Zealand’s dairy industry, including free-ranging cows fed on pasture instead of grain.”

    great news! this is a step towards better treatment of America’s cows.

  49. “d’yareckon the green party should ask rodney hide for a masterclass..? on..’how to get things done’..?”

    it’s easy to ‘get things done’. The challenge is getting something worthwhile done, and Rodney Hide doesn’t know anything about that.

  50. Multi-millionaire Eric Watson is about to create a US$400 million (NZ$531m) dairy company in the United States, using Kiwi farming practices, including grass-fed cows.

    The new company expects to halve the costs of an average US dairy farm and grab a chunk of the fresh milk market on the country’s eastern seaboard.

    It follows a trial in the past two years of the pastoral system adapted from New Zealand methods on a 40.4 hectare farm in the state of Georgia.

    The new dairy company hopes to capture a sizeable chunk of this market over time with systems used in New Zealand’s dairy industry, including free-ranging cows fed on pasture instead of grain.

    In the US a majority of the country’s 10 million cows are restricted to living on concrete pads or in barns.

    The business aims to cut operating costs by up to 50 per cent by producing leaner, high milk producing cows commanding quality premium prices because of their grass diet. Costs will be saved because 80 per cent of the cow diet is from a low cost, renewable pasture resource.


  51. Question for BJ as the resident USA expert.

    In his latest report the Archdruid


    says this

    Imagine along these lines, dear reader, that sometime in the next year or so you start hearing media reports about a rising new figure in American politics. He’s young and charismatic, a military veteran who won the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery under fire, and heads a vigorous new third party that looks as though it might just be able to break the stranglehold of the established parties on the political system. Some of his ideas come straight from the fringes, and he’s been reported to have said very negative things about Arabs and Islam, but he’s nearly the only person in American public life willing to talk frankly about the difficulties Americans are facing in an era of economic collapse, and his party platform embodies many of the most innovative ideas of the left and right. Like him or not, he offers the one convincing alternative to business as usual in an increasingly troubled and corrupt system.

    John Michael Greer then goes on to outline similarities between the failed german Weimer Republic and the rise of Hitler versus the failed USA republic and the potential for a dictatorship to emerge.

    Any thoughts BJ?

    I for one can sort of see it happening simply because the political procvess and the people it is supposed to serve are seperating at a great rate of knots. As noticed by Obamas health reforms where people will be forced to take out insurance.

    John Michael Greer writes

    The current “health care reform” farce is a case in point; most of the plans being discussed in Congress just now deal with the fact that half the American people can’t afford health insurance by forcing them to buy it anyway under penalty of law, funnelling tens of billions of dollars out of the pockets of struggling families – in the midst of a recession, no less – into the coffers of a health insurance industry that is already one of the most overfunded and corrupt institutions in American public life.

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