The Daily Blog Open Mic – Monday – 8th June 2020


Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.


    • Good, but a bit too Kate Bush for me. I’d rather have read the message than have had to hear it

  1. As I listened to this morning’s RNZ Morning Report, it prompted me to think there are a few complementary things that need to be said – probably because by nature I’m quite cycnical and not prone to relentless positivity whether chemically induced or otherwise. Although in my defense and as modest, compassionate, honest, exceptionally intelligent, non-judgemental and utterly gorgeous as I am – equally cynical about myself as I am others.

    So here goes……….

    – NZ still has pockets of people who are committed to good journalistic and investigative endeavour (from Newsroom folk, to Hager & Co, to many at RNZ, a couple or three at the Shub, and even a few at STUFFED (Killgallons and Hunts, etc), though a lot fewer at GRANNY ARBUCKLE )

    – Given the chronic under-funding, and labouring under certain managerialist, commercially-oriented, master-of-the-universe types, RNZ is a gem that needs to be built up rather than dismantled and run down by further under-investment. (Though I’ll turn off most advertisements I’m confronted with, investigate the full content of its website, and check out the coverage of issues on MR this morning. Check out for example). There probably shouldn’t be an RNZ/TVNZ merger – more a bloody takeover if organisational cultures, management salaries, and egos are to be considered.

    – There are people elsewhere committed to good journalism and the need for a functioning 4th Estate seeking legitimate platforms for expression – on this site and its sparring partner TS for example. And my hope is if Frank Macskasy is about, recovered from life’s frustrations, and had a bloody good sleep, he’ll be among them and willing to return when ready.

    We should be supporting and encouraging (shouting out LOUD) the likes of the above and making it clear to pragmatic incrementalists – intent on kicking the can down the road a little further that we’re on the brink. The incrementalism that got us through until now isn’t going to work for much longer as the pace of change, and an increase in the unexpected takes place – and outstrips capacity to deal with it.
    If not, prepare yourselves for being knowledgeable about the state of JJ Feeney’s love life or the brand of Jacinda Adhern’s socks.

    One thing that’s always concerned me is that without a functioning 4th Estate and Public Sphere and where people only ever access things that they ACTIVELY SOLICIT rather than encountering the UNSOLICITED once in a while, insularity and tribalism grows; biases are confirmed; spatial and environmental awareness, and social interactions reduced. And when that happens, we probably don’t even deserve something that resembles a democracy.

    • OwT well put from the heart and in conjunction with the brain.
      Citizens who want to be straight and honest are the ones who admit they are not always right, but with a committed group of s&h (not s&m, and who can stop chewing over important matters for a few seconds to have a trivial laugh) would be able to guide us through the coming decades with the virtues that we know we have but which are smothered by the cold hard economic view. It is only a view, one theoretical way of living our lives as humans. It isn’t cast in primeaval stone. And even our genes and natures can be deliberately changed if we are determined.

      It’s a method of running living conditions for a large number of people who don’t know how to do it themselves – because they have never encountered thinking and discussion – in their homes, or in their schools. Expanding the mind, turning off the television and instead men and women reading the paper, reading fiction so that the imaginative part of the brain learns to function; that would enable an informed democracy to make good decisions.

      We live in a vicious society at present. We ignore people’s plight, act on whim to help those who catch our attention and stir our emotions. But we need to be shaken, not just stirred. We need to be like James Bond, man of action, but have bigger ambitions for positivity when dealing with each other than he did. Fleming was an amazing man, unique with a double dose of the deviousness we all have. If we could use our deviousness to overcome the forces of mad capitalism we would be as great.

      Or in future centuries will they be able to use the machines we now do and survey our lost dilapidated cities and grand projects as in the recent Mayan discovery. Everything we are grappling with past great civilisations have known. Can we summon enough clever, informed, ethical but pragmatic and practical people to guide us into a permanent Lockdown 2, where we constrain ourselves a bit for our own and the country/world’s good?

      Mayan discovery:
      Mayan history: 8000 BC through to when the Spanish in 1500 AD
      over-ruled them.

      Are we as clever as we think? Can’t we think our way past this conquest and disruption and self-aggrandisement and decay cycle. Do we just throw our toys away and go off into space because we are bored and curious and can organise the world to provide the goods to enable this. Our behaviour is like spoiled,
      unknowing children who pinch other’s toys, and will never know themselves. We who have our toys taken, given the chance, can we do something else when we get some power, or do we remain eternally unknowing.

      • Thanks @Grey.
        Usually just watching the ideas of contributors is sufficient for me, although lately, if we’re to survive, just sitting back and watching is no longer enough – especially as we run out of time and lifetimes.
        This election, I’m going to be voting according to conscience (which at this moment won’t be Labour for the first time ever). Hopefully it’ll be on the basis of a planet and people first coalition and one that revolves around community, then district then country, then region, then hemisphere then – etc. But also one that respects those in other hemispheres that act in the same way (and there are such people – I have my own extended family to prove it). If we can’t achiever that, I’ll be just as happy to decamp and go where they already have. We’re not as exceptional as we choose to believe

  2. More worthy reasons for rail restoration in our provinces.
    Please Government hear the voice of reason.

    June 08, 2020

    BERL stands by rail study

    by Andrew Ashton
    Published June 06, 2020 12:07PM

    ‘This region has the opportunity to be a leader’

    BACK IN THE DAY: A Gisborne-bound freight train passes Blacks Beach at Opoutama during the heyday of rail traffic in and out of this district. Three political parties now support reopening the damaged Gisborne-Wairoa section of the line. File picture
    THE man behind a feasibility study into re-opening the Gisborne to Wairoa rail link has hit back at KiwiRail claims that the work is not justified.
    A feasibility study into the reopening of the rail link carried out by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) had recommended reopening the line following a suggested business case but last month, KiwiRail boss Greg Miller stated it would cost five times more than suggested to reopen the line, making the proposal “quite high risk”.
    However, BERL research director Dr Ganesh Nana is standing by the research.
    “BERL delivered its Turanga ki Wairoa line: Feasibility study into reinstatement of the rail line in December last year. Since then there have been numerous comments suggesting we had understated the costs of reinstatement, alongside concerns that freight demand numbers were optimistic,” Dr Nana told the Gisborne Herald.
    “These comments and concerns reflect both a narrow view of the future of the region, and a somewhat narrow commercial view of the purpose of the line.
    “Tairawhiti is well endowed with natural resources that would be the envy of many parts of the world — not to mention many parts of New Zealand. This region has the opportunity to be a leader in addressing the many challenges facing the 21st century New Zealand, its people, and its communities.
    “The ability to plant and harvest a diverse range of products next to farming and forestry activities sets the foundation for a thriving and productive regional economy. However, the current relative isolation of the area acts as a severe constraint on its future development.”
    Dr Nana added, as noted in the report, in the absence of reinstatement of the line opportunities to establish higher value processing operations and the delivery of quality services would likely be compromised.
    “Further, the role of many whanau and hapu land-holding trusts and incorporations is noticeable as they look to enter activities higher up the value chain. These are precisely the transformations that must be encouraged, rather than stifled, if the country aspires to a diversified, resilient, high-value, productive economy.
    Benefits for the public good ignored
    “A broader wellbeing perspective reinforces these regional, as well as national, benefits. Reinstatement will reduce the isolation of communities of the districts, while another transport connection will also improve the resilience of the community and its businesses to external events.”
    Reinstatement would also see a reduction in the number of serious injury or fatal road accidents.
    “Diversified land use across primary industries can enable improved management of land and water, with reinstatement also reducing future greenhouse gas emissions.”
    Dr Nana said the commercial imperative to reinstate the line needed to be viewed in the context of the wider public good.
    “The wellbeing perspective adopted in our feasibility assessment stresses the broader purpose of the line. Purely commercial objectives ignore the range of public good benefits that accrue from the provision of infrastructure.
    “Nevertheless, while a comprehensive business case was beyond the scope of our report, the study team collated and established robust evidence on the engineering costs of reinstatement as well as demand for rail freight services.
    “BERL notes that the study team engaged pro-actively with a range of stakeholders including KiwiRail. Senior KiwiRail representatives were part of the study Steering Group and fully participated in testing and scrutinising both the demand and cost estimates.
    “Qualified and respected engineering and track consultants were engaged to provide repair costs estimates. Contingencies of between 20 percent and 50 percent were included in these estimates. KiwiRail’s own engineering staff provided reports on the bridges, tunnels and associated structures. The details supporting our estimates are fully available in the appendices to our report.
    “Projected freight demands are also fully detailed in our report and accompanying appendices. Our findings highlight the importance of squash, processed timber, meat and apples in the range of products lining up to use a rail freight option were it available. Again, senior KiwiRail representatives on the study steering group participated in subjecting these demands, and subsequent revenue, estimates to robust scrutiny.”
    The Covid-19 pandemic had further reinforced the fragility of the country’s business and economic frameworks.
    “In contrast, however, the robustness of community frameworks has shone through, with government, iwi, health, business and training supports transcending purely financial considerations.
    “Wider wellbeing perspectives are required to replace 20th century business and economic models of behaviour, as the value of community resilience and connections are recognised. Consequently, a one-off spend of the order of $30 million to reinstate infrastructure that can unlock and accelerate a region’s future development and transformation is a legacy well worth leaving to our mokopuna and beyond.”
    1. Abha Sood, Wellington says:
    June 6, 2020 at 15:16
    Tourism will benefit, for domestic and international guests. Well-functioning, reliable and modern railways are a part of our climate-resilient future.
    2. Ken and Janet Crispin says:
    June 7, 2020 at 11:22
    June 06, 2020
    RE “BERL stands by rail study”
    We Long-time Rail Campaigners support the BERL Report and Line Restoration.
    My wife and I wish to lend our unqualified support to the BERL Report and the statement by its principal, Dr Ganesh Nana, re the reinstatement of the Gisborne-Wairoa railway line.
    The restoration will be a catalyst for the future development of not only freight and tourist rail opportunities but hopefully, in the future, passenger trains too! There is a significant sector of the community not catered for, who can’t afford to fly, don’t drive or don’t want to drive that road even in a bus.
    Rail would be an obvious benefit here as it will also add resilience to Tairawhiti’s transport networks.
    Our roads are constantly clogged with heavy trucks that make our community travel dangerous and sadly fatal for some families.
    We are led to believe ‘crunch time is upon us’, as we have been waiting for eight years witnessing other regions being given rail services ahead of our region.
    So now is the time for all like-minded individuals to make their voices heard by lobbying councillors, the Mayor, MPs and anyone else who can assist in getting our railway line back on track!
    Together we can get Tairawhiti back on the rails.
    Ken and Janet Crispin, Rail Supporters, Matawai.
    3. John McCaskey, North Canterbury says:
    June 7, 2020 at 12:28
    Time to sack Twyford and NZTA/KiwiRail’s overpaid bosses and get back to basics – serve the public, not corporate “fat cats”!
    4. Barry Foster says:
    June 8, 2020 at 08:18
    This is a very well written article by Andrew Ashton and Dr Ganesh Nana and one that those making the decisions on the line’s future should well take note of. It is a pity about the use of the very old ‘stock’ photo though – there are plenty of more recent photos than this of the line that could have been used.

  3. I think it may have been an old recording – it sounds like it. It’s the only one available of her perhaps even taken from a tape. So we’re lucky to have it I think. Probably her voice was vibrant in her early days, as she looks quite a gal.

  4. The Rail idea is wrong Labour Clol, please fix from above. You can’t just say lazily or Pcishly – It’s an operational matter. We may decide we can operate on a 3D printer and build a Frankestein politician and get better action.

    Now we are all at sea about engineering at Nelson. FGS we are more than a herd of dairy cows. You want us all to be yokels living like the 19th century? Bloody organise MoBie or whoever they have contracted their work to.
    A Nelson marine engineering and maintenance firm is facing the loss of almost half its workforce as it waits for the government to make a decision on allowing foreign ships into port.

    These are skilled people at their job, unlike many of you politicians, who fold up like a piece of origami.

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