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Live Video Stream of Hon Parekura Horomia Tangi

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Live Stream courtesy of R2.co.nz: Welcome to the webcast of the tangi for the Hon Parekura Horomia, live from the Hauiti Marae in Tologa Bay. This webcast is being produced by the community in Tologa Bay and cameras will be available as people resources allow.

It is expected that the webcast will be available until the end of saturday 4 May 2013.

Tech Notice: Due to the nature of live events, you may need to reload the player page, press the play button to start the video feed or wait a few moments until the video begins. IE9 or IE10 users may have to turn on compatibility mode – Found in the tools menu.

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The science really is in on global warming

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The piece of satire that was directed at Colin Craig from the very funny Citizen Blog was about global warming and on that front, there is little to laugh at.

This week the measured carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 399.5 parts per million, the last time there was that much of a build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 3 million years ago – although we’ll forgive Colin if he claims it was only 8500 years ago – that amount of carbon in the atmosphere makes the planet 3 degrees warmer with sea levels 25meters higher than they are now.

It took nature millions of years to build up Co2 to the these levels. We’ve done that in the space of a couple of century. The feedback lash from the manner in which we recklessly waste resources needs to be urgently addressed as the issue that risks all others.

So let’s be clear. The science really is in on global warming so if you are justifying your inaction under the pretense that there’s still some scientific question mark over anthropogenic climate change, rest assured you are just being politically lazy and not nihilistically pragmatic.

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Ronald vs The Union

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On May Day this year McDonalds workers in Auckland took action to support an improved offer from the company in their negotiations for a new collective agreement. A lively picket was established outside the flagship Queen Street store in central Auckland City.

McD’s called the cops to be their private security for the night and they kindly obliged by sending two paddy wagons loaded with a couple of dozen of the boys (and girls) in blue to shove the picket a few meters further away from the store entrance. They remained there for the next hour or so until the picket ended – clearly nothing much else for them to do in Auckland.

Ironically the McD’s workers are fighting for things won by the generation of workers that started May Day as a day of international workers action in Chicago 127 years ago.

On Saturday, May 1, 1886—a work day—35,000 Chicago workers walked off their jobs, demanding the eight-hour day for 10 hours’ pay. Strikes for the eight-hour day continued throughout the city, police rioted, and four workers who had led demonstrations (three of them German-born immigrants) were hanged. A international socialist congress in 1889 adopted May Day a day for strikes and demonstrations in every country for the 8 hour day.

Workers in many countries – including New Zealand – went on to win an 8-hour working day and a 40-hour working week. “Penal rates” on time and a half or double time were established for working in excess of these hours – sometimes backed up by law. This was true in New Zealand until the anti-worker laws adopted by a National government in the 1990s saw nearly all legal protections stripped away.

Workers like those at McDonald’s became “casualised” with no guaranteed hours in any day, or week. There are technically no full-time workers at McDonald’s outside of management. Every crew member has to just wait and see each week what his or her roster is for the following week and what days or hours they will be working. Usually they will only get 20-30 hours but it can go up and down significantly.

Inevitably this is ripe territory for favouritism, bullying, discrimination. Workers discover that is they stand up for their rights or simply fall out of favour for whatever reason then they will have their hours cut the next week. Hours are cut as punishment for small infractions like lateness without proper processes.

On the other side of the issue we have workers in industries like security who are on near minimum wages and have to work 60-70 hours a week to make ends meet – but there are no overtime rates for them.

The 8-hour working day has been lost at both ends.

Unite has been slowly trying to get some of the rights that were lost back into the collective agreements we are negotiating. We began with clauses in the contracts saying no new workers should be hired until existing staff are given all the hours they want. But often the bosses simply ignore even their legal obligations. This has been true throughout the fast food industries as they try to run the stores with the least labour they can get away with.

We have made the most progress at Restaurant Brands – which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and some Carls Jr stores. We have a strong clauses around security of hours and a strict breaks schedule. We have overtime rates after 8 hours a day. Workers get off the minimum wage by around a $1 an hour after about six months on the job. There are fee meals on shift. We also have a collective agreement allowance of $4 a week per member paid to a union trust fund to purchase benefits for union members that can’t be passed on to non members.

McDonald’s workers are determined to at least equal Restaurant Brands this year. But this won’t be only an industrial campaign. We know that our original success in getting collective agreements in this industry in the 2006-7 “Supersizemypay” campaign was as much about public support as workers actions. The companies were concerned as much about their brand image as the action being taken by their workers.

Again this year we want that public support for the pickets and protests that will be occurring. We want community groups, parties, unions to consider “adopting” a McD’s store to picket on a regular basis while this campaign continues.

Together we can win.

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It’s Official, The Sky Will Fall – Phil O’Reilly

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The sky is falling

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As the rightwing and their business foot-soldiers are continuing their mad panic (or more accurately, their mad attempts to panic the public) over the Labour-Green proposal for a single electricity buyer-desk, aka, NZ Power – the public have moved on.

Not that the right wing have noticed. Their fear-campaign is still cranking out all manner of garbage to strike the Fear Of Mammon into the hearts and minds of the Great Unwashed Masses.

Chief executive of BusinessNZ, Phil O’Reilly, had this op-ed piece published yesterday (30 April);

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NZ Power - electricity - Greens - Labour -  lower power electricity prices

Acknowledgment: Fairfax Media – More competition good for power sector

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After only the first paragraph, O’Reilly launches into a list of dire sky-is-falling list of Doomsday scenarios;

  1. Price controls harm investment.”
  2. New Zealand is dependent on overseas investment. Without it, home mortgages would become more expensive and harder to get…”
  3. New Zealand is dependent on overseas investment. Without it …  and more expensive to get investment to grow businesses and create jobs.”
  4. History shows that in places with price controls – the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, North Korea, or New Zealand under the Muldoon wage and price controls – the result is capital flight, run-down industries and poorer populations.”
  5. This threat also almost immediately destroyed millions of dollars of value built up by small investors in the NZ Superannuation Fund, KiwiSaver and private power companies.”
  6. Electricity prices must take into account the cost of building new generators – if they didn’t, we’d find the lights would go out the moment we exceeded our capacity.”

O’Reilly left out terrorist attacks, alien invasion, and God striking us down with thunderbolts.

Some of his rhetoric is so bizarre that you have to wonder if O’Reilly actually believes his own BS. Take for example this remark,

“Electricity prices rise because a growing population and growing economy bring growing demand for power, and growth in demand requires investment in new generation plant, which is large-scale, long-lived and expensive to build.”

Acknowledgment: IBID

O’Reilly then goes on to claim,

“Much of the 64 per cent price rise under Labour resulted from interventionist policies.”

Acknowledgment: IBID

So if I have this straight; according to Mr O’Reilly, “Much of the 64 per cent price rise under Labour” is due toa growing population and growing economy bring growing demand for power”?!

Because that’s what he is implying;  growing population + economy = 64% in electricity price rises.

That’s utter bullshit.

The population of New Zealand grew from 3.8 million in January 2000 to our current 4.4 million. (See:   Trading Economics – New Zealand Population) That’s an increase of 600,000 – 15.8% (hopefully my math is correct on this calculation).  Somewhat short of the 64% that O’Reilly quotes.

As for suggesting that New Zealand’s economy grew by 64% during Labour’s term in office – as much as every left-winger  would love to acknowledge that – no. There has never been that degree of growth in New Zealand between 2000/08 or even 2000/13. Or any other decades;

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NZ GDP 2000 - 2008

Acknowledgment: Trading Economics – GDP Growth Rate

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After all the fear-mongering and name-calling, the only word left to describe O’Reilly’s piece is; laughable. His assertions are derisable; his “facts” are dubious and unsupported by evidence (ie; he’s made it up); and his fear-threat of more expensive mortages is  bogey-man stuff.

It may come as a shock to Mr O’Reilly – but whilst some of the public can be gullible, we are not that thick.

Nor do we willingly believe absurd claims like this,

“Electricity prices must take into account the cost of building new generators – if they didn’t, we’d find the lights would go out the moment we exceeded our capacity.”

Acknowledgment: Fairfax Media – More competition good for power sector

Yes, we have had power cuts in the past. Usually due to low water storage in the dams; transmission line failure; or other equipment break-downs or shut-down for maintenance.

But let’s not forget the our entire past electricity generation infra-structure, such as Manapouri, Benmore,  Clyde Dam, etc,  were the  result of State  interventionist investment in energy infra-structure.

None of it was built by private enterprise in response to “consumer demand”. Private investment has been a relatively recent advent, such as Contact Energy’s Te Mihi development – a project, by the way that was under-taken during  Labour’s administration. (See: Te Mihi Power Station)

New Zealand has built up it’s energy infra-structure. We can do it again, when required. We most certainly did not rely on private enterprise.

But these are all “inconvenient facts” that the Right refuse to deal with – or even acknowledge. Right wingers like O’Reilly tend to re-write history in an Orwellian fashion, to suit their neo-liberal agenda.

Well, you can fool some of the people some of the time…

The associated poll with O’Reilly’s op-ed piece is hardly scientific, but as an indicator, it shows that people are waking up to the biggest con of the last thirty years of New Right “reforms”,

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More competition good for power sector  (2)

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Nearly two-thirds think that cheaper electricity is “about time”.

Just over a third want to “stick to what we’ve got”. Bloody National supporters – thick as two planks.

Well, I have a perfect solution to the demands for both groups;

  • Those 60.6% who want cheaper power can sign up to NZ Power, and recieve cheaper electricity through a single-desk buyer.
  • The remainder, 34.8%, can keep buying their electricity at “market” rates; paying whatever their powerco demands from them.

Both groups are catered for.

Those who want it, will get cheaper power.

National supporters (and we know who you are, you very thilly, thilly people) can keep getting gouged.

Choice is good, eh?

I’m happy.

Choice for everyone, eh?

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*

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Additional

NZ Herald:  Lid blown on power price rort (3 Feb 2013)

NZ Herald:  The 30-year power price hike (3 Feb 2013)

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= fs =

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Citizen A with Colin Craig & David Slack

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Citizen A with Colin Craig & David Slack

Issue 1: What is Auckland going to do about it’s gridlock problems?

Issue 2: The re-introduction of Youth rates & work and safety standards described as dysfunctional – are NZ Workers getting a fair deal from this Government

and Issue 3 tonight: Where does political satire stop and defamation begin?

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American mythology contradictions

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American mythology contradictions

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Radical Gardening

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Radical Gardening

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Aaron Gilmore vs B’stard

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Aaron Gilmore vs B’stard

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National’s economic record

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National’s economic record

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What corporate money can buy you in protection

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What corporate money can buy you in protection – the Police line at a McDonalds strike on Queen st New Zealand

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Face TV listings Friday 3rd May

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AM
8.00 In Focus
8.45 Classic serial
9.00 Bloomberg TV
10.00 Global 3000
10.30 Sustainable Futures
11.00 euronews

PM
12.00pm Citizen A
12.30 Baha’i on Air
1.00 Korean News
1.30 euronews
2.00 NHK Newsline
2.30 TV Chile 24 Horas
3.00 German news
3.30 French news
4.00 Dutch news
4.30 Tokyo Eye
5.00 Euromaxx
5.30 DW Journal
6.00 Aljazeera News
7.00 Fishin’ Trip
7.30 Drive it
8.00 On2Wheels
8.30 4WD TV
9.00 Australia News
9.30 The Untouchables [AO]
10.30 euronews
11.30 Shintaro: Samurai [PG]

Face TV broadcasts on Sky 89 & Auckland UHF

Face TV Twitter
Face TV Facebook

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The Daily Blog Watch Thursday 2 April

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Today’s Daily Blog Watch Round-Up of matters that have attracted the attention, assessments, and articulations of this country’s leading bloggers…

 

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NZ Left Blogosphere

Truth, Justice, and the American Way‘ in 21st Century USA would bring Superman to his knees, in tears. In the Pundit, Jane Young writes about  Force-feeding at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay) of political prisoners from America’s War of Terror. Oops, I mean, War On Terror. Or whatever.

America’s detention of prisoners without trial or other due process of the law is a blight on that nation’s reputation (or what’s left of it)  and shows itself no better than the Soviet Union in the 1970s. As Jane writes,

In a letter from his hospital bed, Khader Adnan who was one of the first to stop taking food, cited the daily extremes of the occupation – the humiliations, beatings, senseless harassment and deprivation of the simplest human rights as his tipping point.

Such is the value of America’s concepts of truth and justice.

Superman wept.

No Right Turn’s Idiot/Savant rails against undemocratic restrictions placed on West Coast man, Robert Frank Terry, who is facing various charges. The Court has restricted (ie, denied) Robert’s right to contact elected representatives. I/S charges that this is  Going too far,

People’s fundamental democratic rights should not be stripped from them simply because they are accused of a crime.”

The march of State Power continues…

Idiot/Savant reports  National’s rush to privatisation with Meridian and Genesis, even before the Mighty River Power sales is concluded.  He points out the bleedin’ obvious which National has failed to comprehend;

… apart from the anti-democratic attempt to evade the expected referendum (which we should hear about by next Sunday), this is simply dumb. Flooding the market with electricity company shares is not going to result in the best return for the government.”

Personally, I suspect that the Tories are panicking. They are one by-election away from collapse, and with plummetting poll-ratings, will not fare well in such an electoral test.

The Nats are on their way out and they want to do as much damage neo-liberal reforms as they can get away with.

I/S also reveal that the GCSB’s  Mastery of Cyberspacedoes  not extend to putting the correct email address on their website (and in fact they do not seem to understand the difference between an email address and a “website”. Yeah, we can have faith in these guys. Not).”

Just as well the Taliban don’t email their threats to us.

Imperator Fish’s Scott Yorke tells us about  A day in the life of Aaron Gilmore, MP – referencing National MP Aaron Gilmore’s abuse meted out to a (very calm and professional)  waiter at a Hanmer Springs hotel. Lest we need to be reminded, Tories have a born-to-rule attitude and that extends to serving them as much booze as their bloated guts will take (never mind the Liquor Act prohibiting serving alcohol to drunks).

Scott uses his natural talents for satire to lampoon Gilmore’s drunken behaviour to good effect.

Meanwhile Frank is somewhat more Frankly Speaking about Gilmore’s Booze-ups, brain-fades, and bullying, and shares his views with a letter to the editor at the Press. Frank links Gilmore’s booze-fueled misbehaviour with National’s abuse of workers since 2008. The Tory “born to rule”  comes out when alcohol releases their inhibitions.

If, as the Radio NZ report is true, and Gilmore threatened the waiter with being fired, then perhaps he should reconsider his role as a Member of Parliament.

Pillock.

According to Whoar“..Zuckerberg: Folks On Facebook Are Happy With All The Ads We’re Showing Them..”. He writes that,

“..A few things seem to hold true about Facebook users as a whole:

They’ll gripe about being friended by their bosses –

– they’ll be annoyed by baby photos – and they’ll complain about ads.”

But according to Zuckerberg, Facebook users are fine with that. Yeah, right. Off course they are.

Whoar also tells us that  “..Robert Reich: The Fed – Apple – and Trickle-Down Economics..” and how big corporations are abusing the Fed’s pumping out of endless rivers of money.

On The Jackal we get a taste of  John Key’s scare tactics, with the Green Party as the Bogey-man. Jackal writes,

I often wonder how on earth we ended up with such a blatantly dishonest person as Prime Minister… I also wonder how we ended up with such a bad liar? The deluded John Key can’t even construct a decent lie these days, which makes him entirely pathetic!.”

He also wonders,

If the Chinese Vice-Premier’s goons were about to shoot Russel Norman for holding up a Tibetan flag, perhaps we shouldn’t allow them into the country with guns in the first place.”

New Zealand allowed foreign visitors into the country armed with guns?

Or was Key lying again?

The Jackal also comments on Aaron Gilmore’s  drunken buffoon binge-drinking and abuse behaviour to hotel staff, and doesn’t mince his words on this event.

As Jackal states, the hotel was following the letter of the law. Which is more than can be made to Gilmore’s threats to have a waiter sacked for not supplying more booze for the heavily intoxicated National List MP.

In Bizarreer and BizarreerThe Dim Post presented a well-considered riposte to David Farrar’s criticisms of The Post’s previous rubbishing of Farrar’s fear-mongering over dropping share markets. Farrar – being a National Party apparatchik and general stooge of Big Business, doesn’t want the Labour-Green NZ Power plan to go ahead.

That might mean cheaper electricity prices for people.

And we can’t have that now, can we???

After all, share investers might lose their profits from our privatised SOE powercos.

And we can’t have that now, can we???

As  Danyl writes in response to our little Tory gnome,

The other point to be made here is that Labour and the Greens argue that the share-value of these companies is over-inflated  because their profits are artificially high – because the current policy settings allow them to price-gouge. So changing the policy settings isn’t wealth destruction, but rather wealth-transfer from the shareholders to the customers.”

Message to Mr Farrar: you can keep paying high power prices for your electricity.

We’ll take the cheaper option.

Everyone is happy.

Danyl also writes that Maurice Williamson’s “rainbow” speech was Publishable, but worth it to elect him as mayor of Auckland?  As Danyl points out,

Being a good speaker counts for a lot in politics, but I don’t think it’s going to convince Auckland to vote for a libertarian who thinks that the leaky homes debacle was an act of nature and who will want to privitise every park and swimming pool in the city.”

Thankfully, the public’s John Key-like short-term memory will deny Williamson any lasting ‘brownie points’ from his well-received speech over marriage equality.

Marty at mars2earth refers to corporate predators to whom Key has  exposed our  throats. Key’s secretive dealing with deep-sea oil drilling outfit, Anadarko, does not bode well for our country.

Remember that Anadarko was involved with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 – and tried to evade responsibility for the worst environmental oil-disaster in the history of human civilisation. And these are the predators that Key has invited into our country.

The Civilian addresses the binge-drinking session at the Hanmer springs hotel, and reports that it wasn’t Aaron Gilmore responsible for threatening the waiter. Instead, the  Taliban claim responsibility for rude hotel comments. The Civilian states,

In a video released to a number of extremist websites today, the Taliban said that the attack was a retaliatory action against New Zealand for its involvement in Afghanistan. They promised that if New Zealand continued to offer aid to the U.S. in battlefields around the world, more faux pas were likely to take place in the future.”

Well, that explains everything.

Ok, Mr Gilmore, you’re off the hook. No stocks for you…

And the Civilian reports that the  Roache arrest puts new spin on Ken Barlow preschool storyline. *ouch!!!*

The Labour blogsite rebutts the whinge/threat letter sent by vested business interests to persuade Labour-Greens that the proposed single buyer-desk for electricity is a bad thing. Because, well, shareholders might be affected. Or the sky will fall. But Phil O’Reilly’s  open letter is wrong on many counts, replies David Parker.

After all, as we all know, Big Business is really interested in our well-being, and not their own vested interests, right?

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tui2

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Over at The Standard,

  • Why Brian Gaynor wants you to keep paying too much for power – 

  • Networks of influence: Key & Anadarko Petroleum –  ith their record of falsehood and misinformation, we cannot trust anything said by Anadarko people“. She refers to a complex web of dodgy companies all connected with Anadarko and their apalling track record. Karol points out that “Anadarko made false claims about their years of experience in deep sea drilling.  They falsely claimed their role in the Deepwater Horizon (BP/Gulf of Mexico/Macondo) disaster was that of “passive” investor“.

  • The Standard does a semi-regular feature call “Caption This“. Tonight’s is pretty damned funny. Have a squizz, and leave your own. First prize is a new progressive government. (Booby Prize; a Third Term of Dear Leader and his drunken MPs.)

And allied to Karol’s piece on Anadarko is Gordon Campbell’s excellent Risky Business on Werewolf. Gordon gives us a full picture on Anadarko’s track record and our total inability to mount a response should we have a Gulf of Mexico-type spill of out coast,

New Zealand’s isolation makes it particularly vulnerable to a Gulf of Mexico-style oil spill, marine pollution experts say…..In the Gulf of Mexico, where there are more than 3800 oil and gas platforms, towing in a relief operation was relatively easy….In New Zealand…help could take longer to arrive with potential rescue platforms a long distance off…A similar leak [to Deepwater Horizon] at Montara oil field, in the Timor Sea, took 79 days to shut off.” – Dominion –Post, 23 June 2010

Access to well containment gear – capping stacks – was compulsory in the United States and they were deployed around the world in industry centres, the closest of which [to New Zealand] is in Singapore.” – New Zealand Herald, April 30, 2010

This is must-read stuff. (And share via Facebook! Get the message out!)

If disaster strikes, will John Key take responsibility for the consequences?

Sure he will.

And I’m the Pope.

Or Superman.

 

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Blog Post of the Day

Imperator Fish writes about   Taking a wrong turn down Memory Lane, and compares his memory with that of John “Brainfade” Key. It’s a rip-roaring hoot and be warned: do not be drinking anything when you read this – not unless you fancy your drink sprayed all over your monitor and keyboard!

Scott – expect  threats of lawsuits; massive publicity; and skyrocketing hits on your website.

Well played.

Aaron Gilmore – expect to be seen as the Village Drunk from now on.

Not well played at all.

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Thought for the Day

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Frank Lloyd Wright

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~oo~

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Suppose they held a Constitutional Review – and nobody came

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“UP THE REPUBLIC!” Screamed one placard, “Entrench the Bill of Rights!” demanded another. In front of the doors a huge banner declared “The Treaty IS Our Constitution!”, while, off to one side, a tight little group of Young Nats chanted “Four More Years!”

It took me quite a while to pick my way through this noisy throng on Auckland’s Albert Street, but eventually, the Police managed to clear a path for the invited guests and a young constable thrust me, unceremoniously, through the doors of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Finding my way to “Elliott Room 3” was much less of a problem. All I had to do was follow the procession of journalists and television crews heading in the same direction. The room, itself was full to overflowing with media of every stripe.

Suddenly, the members of the Constitutional Review Panel were in the room. Gingerly, they picked their way through the journalistic gaggle and seated themselves at the top table.

Their opening remarks were almost drowned out by the rhythmic chanting of the crowd outside: “What do we want? A Written Constitution! When do we want it? Now!”

EXCEPT THERE WASN’T A CROWD. Not on Albert Street and not in Elliott Room 3. A rather forlorn young man called Ryan met me in the lobby and escorted me to Elliot Room 3 where the two representatives of the Constitutional Review Panel, its Co-Chair, Emeritus Professor John Burrows, and Panel member, Deborah Coddington, accompanied by their secretariat and a hovering public relations team from Chatterbox Services, outnumbered the invited journalists present – all four of us – by two-to-one.

And this, in a nutshell, is what’s so wrong with the whole Constitutional Review exercise. Hardly anyone knows it’s happening and even fewer care. And that’s in spite of a multi-media advertising campaign featuring Pio Terei and Bernice Mene – paid for out of the Review’s $4 million budget (all of which has been generously supplied by you and me, the taxpayers).

With a brief cobbled together in the days following the 2008 General Election by Deputy-Prime Minister, Bill English, and Maori Party co-leader, Pita Sharples, the Review has always been a top-down, party-political initiative. Conceded by National as part of the price of a coalition deal with the Maori Party, it was foisted on a nation that hadn’t asked for it, and, if the overwhelming lack of interest at all levels is anything to go by, doesn’t want it.

Two months after the Review Panel called for submissions from the public, and having spent the past several years begging virtually every professional and interest group in New Zealand, from Nagai Tahu, to the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties; NZUSA and the NZ Law Society to the Council of Trade Unions; to send through their thoughts and suggestions, they have received just 700 responses.

There are still two months to go, but even if the numbers responding during the first half of the consultation period are matched in the second, the total will still be less than a fifth of the number of submissions received by the parliamentary select committee examining the marriage equality legislation.

THE PANEL has been charged by the Government with consulting “all New Zealanders”. And New Zealanders, by not responding in their millions, have delivered an unequivocal verdict on the entire exercise:

Leave well enough alone!

When asked specific questions about the length of the parliamentary term, the number of MPs or whether the Bill of Rights should be “entrenched” law, the average Kiwi will quite sensibly plead ignorance due to a lack of information.

But, if you take your lead from the way average New Zealanders, over many decades, have responded to anyone – be it the judiciary, the news media, big business or a foreign power – foolhardy enough to try and overawe or over-ride the will of their elected representatives, then the New Zealand people’s grasp of their country’s core constitutional principles is both very clear and very strong.

New Zealanders believe in representative democracy through free, fair and frequent elections; majority rule; and the absolute and unquestioned supremacy of Parliament over all other institutions and agencies within their nation’s borders.

Mess with those principles at your peril!

Historically, New Zealanders have resisted every attempt to limit the power of the House of Representatives. They have evinced no interest in a written constitution, demonstrated little patience with those who argue that judges should be empowered to strike down “unconstitutional” legislation; abolished the Legislative Council, New Zealand’s upper house, without even bothering to put the matter to a referendum; and twice rejected a four year parliamentary term.

What did motivate them to change the rules of the political game was a succession of governments which exploited the vagaries of the first-past-the post electoral system to negate the clearly demonstrated will of the electorate. The result was MMP.

When the need for intervention is clearly perceived by ordinary Kiwis, it happens. If that was their perception today, then, rest assured, it would be happening. If the actions of their government were deemed by the New Zealand people to constitute a “clear and present danger” to representative democracy; free, fair and frequent elections; majority rule; and Parliamentary Supremacy – then the streets really would be filled with protesters, and our constitution would, indeed, be the subject of passionate debate.

But that is not New Zealanders perception – as the paltry tally of just 700 submissions to the Review Panel so eloquently testifies.

So, unless the next two months produce a veritable tsunami of submissions, manifesting a near unanimous desire to radically alter the system of “parliamentary republicanism” which has made New Zealand one of the most democratic nations on earth, the Constitutional Review Panel should submit a report to the Government stating, simply, that since it has detected no significant interest in constitutional change of any sort, the status quo should continue.

Continue, that is, until such time as the people, acting on their own initiative, from the bottom-up, decide that it shouldn’t.

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Roger Award 2012: Taejin Fisheries Wins – Rio Tinto & King Salmon Equal Runners Up

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Taejin Fisheries Wins – Rio Tinto & King Salmon Equal Runners Up – Government & United Fisheries Share Accomplice Award.

By Murray Horton.

Roger Award.
Roger Award.
Finalists: the Australian-owned banks (ANZ/ASB/BNZ/Westpac) collectively), BAT (British American Tobacco), IAG (Insurance Australia Group), King Salmon, Newmont Waihi Gold, Rio Tinto, Taejin Fisheries Co. Ltd and Vodafone.

The nominators of Taejin Fisheries also nominated United Fisheries Ltd and the NZ Government for the Accomplice Award,

The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance – monopoly, profiteering, tax dodging, cultural imperialism; people – unemployment, impact on tangata whenua, impact on women, impact on children, abuse of workers/conditions, health and safety of workers and the public; environment – environmental damage, abuse of animals; and political interference – Interference in democratic processes, running an ideological crusade.

The judges were: Christina Stringer, a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the University of Auckland; John Maynard, from Wellington, President of the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa, spokesperson for People’s Power Ohariu and founding member of the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band; Paul Maunder, cultural worker, curator of Blackball Museum of Working Class History and a founding member of Unite!; Sam Mahon, an artist, author and activist from North Canterbury; and Wayne Hope, Associate Professor, Communications Studies, Auckland University of Technology.

The winners were announced at an event in Wellington on May 1st.

Taejin Fisheries won because, in the words of the judges: “The formula is simple: You’ve got a resource, turn to the Third World for cheap, unorganised ‘slave labour’ in order to process that resource. In this case you lease your fishing quota to foreign charter vessels owned by a South Korean company about whom information is non-existent, which employs Indonesian crew on their two trawlers, Melilla 201 and Mellila 203”. The judges cite a seminal report into the NZ fishing industry which itemises foreign companies using “fraudulent documentation, exploitation, intimidation, coercion, blacklisting, inhumane working conditions, brutal beatings, sexual assault and even murder”.

United Fisheries Ltd and the Government shared the Accomplice Award. “The Christchurch firm United Fisheries happily continued to charter vessels from Taejin Fisheries with no apparent serious effort to ensure decent living conditions, pay, and working hours, for the crews on the boats. The Government continued to issue work permits for new crew to be employed offshore without regard to press reports of ill-treatment… There is no solid financial information available about Taejin Fisheries, which is not registered in New Zealand. United Fisheries is a closely held family-owned New Zealand company. New Zealand’s financial reporting regime allows such companies to keep their financial affairs private … United Fisheries’ role in the appalling treatment of foreign fishing crews damages New Zealand’s international reputation in the fishing industry, and undermines the clean and green image New Zealand likes to project in foreign markets… The fact that United Fisheries is a family-owned company is not a valid reason for exempting it or other economically significant companies from filing on the public record audited financial reports”.

Rio Tinto, the equal runner-up, is the majority owner of the Bluff aluminium smelter. It has been a regular finalist. It was the defending champion, having won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in both 2009 and 08. The Judges’ Report succinctly summarised its 50 year history in NZ as: “Once the deal was done, it had us by the balls and has continued to squeeze ever since… In 2012, it cried wolf because of the drop in world aluminium prices and tried to insist on rewriting its’ contract with Meridian (which already had some slack in terms of world aluminium prices), sacked some workers and once again threatened to close” (behaviour which it has ramped up in 2013).

King Salmon is the other equal runner-up. “Marine farms are problematic in an area like the Sounds, as they are an industrial activity, generating noise, odour, traffic, lighting, damaging habitat, affecting water quality, and they constitute a privatising of public water space”. Locals objected to its major expansion plans, which were prohibited by the Marlborough District Council; the Government sent the case to the newly created Environmental Protection Agency as a matter of “national significance”, and it gave the go ahead for half the requested new salmon farms. “This move to sabotage local democratic processes is a particularly insidious one”.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

The Daily Blog Watch Wednesday 1 April

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Today’s Daily Blog Watch Round-Up of matters that have attracted the attention, assessments, and articulations of this country’s leading bloggers…

 

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NZ Left Blogosphere

Let’s begin with a grenade-lobbed-into-the-Labour-caucus…

QoT on Ideologically Impure asks a perfectly valid question;  Why has Shane Jones not been stood down?

QoT is referring to Shane Jones’ comments on last Sunday’s Q+A, where he uttered what seemed to be half-hearted, luke-warm,  support for the  Labour-Green electricity single-buyer desk plan NZ Power, and for the Labour leader.

See also Frank Macskasy’s comments on this issue here;  Weekend Media Review – The Nation, Q+A, Marae Invesigates, and… The X Factor?!

QoT rightly rightly pointed out that Team Shearer dealt severely to David Cunliffe for less overt acts of disloyalty.

Wadup, folks?

On  Kiwipolitico, Pablo writes about  The bin-Laden legacy. Pablo suggests that one of Bin Laden’s objectives has succeeded; the bankrupting of the United States through endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s more in Pablo’s analysis, and it’s a real insight into geo-politics and American hegemony.

Something I missed a couple of days ago;  Russell Brown on Hard News taking a very big stick to Weekend Herald, senior columnist John Roughan, and ex ACT-MP, Rodney Hide. Russell writes that  You can Roughan but you just can’t Hide, and outlines why these two men are very much part of Auckland’s transport mess.

Russell does an excellent job in sheeting home responsibility to Roughan and Hide. (Not that the Right is known for taking responsibility for their actions.) In big, bold, black letters, Russell reminds us all;

“THE INDIVIDUAL ON EARTH MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CULTURE, PRACTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF AUCKLAND TRANSPORT AND OTHER COUNCIL-CONTROLLED ORGANISATIONS IS RODNEY HIDE.”

Indeed. Lest we forget.

In Redline, Michael Roberts writes of  The ‘Greek’ and ‘Icelandic’ models of recovery: neither work for workers. Icelanders have voted to return a right wing government – one that was essentially responsible for the collapse of Iceland’s banks and  economy in 2008/09. He looks closely at Iceland’s situation and makes his own conclusions.

The Pundit’s two best known writers,  Tim Watkin and Dr Jon Johansson have things to says regarding Eric Watson/Mark Hotchin and Labour/Green’s NZ Power proposal,

“After two and a half years, the Serious Fraud Office wound up its extensive investigation into Hanover Finance yesterday, deciding they would not lay criminal charges against those leading the finance company. The company’s owners, in what’s become typical bad taste, couldn’t wait to gloat at the outcome.

Eric Watson and Mark Hotchin essentially stuck their tongues out and said, ‘told you so’, with no mention of the many millions lost or lives damaged.

Watson went so far as to say the decision reinforced his confidence that Hanover was “responsibly governed and managed” and to question the taxpayer money spent on such a long investigation. That is some bald cheek.”

Well said.

The message  this sends to the public is; if you’re going to steal, make it BIG and COMPLICATED.  That’ll get you off scott free. Guaranteed.

There is a scene in Bladerunner’ where the beautiful android Pris, played by Daryl Hannah, is shot and goes into a furious and wild death thrash, with her limbs flaying all over the show as her short shelf life disappears before her maddening eyes.

I have been reminded of this scene every time one of National’s shills has predicted armageddon as a result of the joint Labour and Greens announcement of New Zealand Power, their proposed single-purchaser in the energy market. Here’s some of the wild thrashing: there’ll be capital flight (but not yet it seems); it presages a return to Muldoonism (in EVERY manifestation); and of course the claim that the Red-Green announcement represents a sudden lurch to the far left.

He adds that ” it did take a week of flaying around but by Sunday, when I was on Q+A,’ the basic narrative structure had kicked into place, best encapsulated by the inimitable Michelle Boag’s line that the Greens were “the tail wagging Labour’s dog”.

Well sussed, Dr Johansson. But perhaps you could have pointed this out on Q+A  rather sitting on the fence at the time?

Oh well, at least people are becoming aware of National’s (and their allies) trying to rark up the public with all manner of  bogeyman scare tactics.

Dr Johansson runs a good analysis of the NZ Power plan, saying,

“The ends haven’t changed, which is basically to provide secure and affordable power to New Zealanders and to business, but the instrumental adaptation is to a single-buyer model, which Labour and the Greens believe will better deliver the intended ends of affordability and which our artificially contrived market has empirically and conspicuously failed to achieve.”

There’s much more – it’s a good, solid read.  The Nats and their stooges could learn a lesson how to conduct themselves in a public debate.

There’s more worthy reading to be had at The Standard – the moral shepherd of the Left (to paraphrase Martyn Bradbury when he desribes Matthew Hooten);

  • Happy International Workers’ Day – have a pay cut – by
  • Ever the brilliant writer, Karol writes about Auckland, the Unitary Plan, and National’s attempts to take over the Council in  The NZ Herald – advancing Auckland backwards. Karol charges the NZ Herald to be “providing a distorted picture of the well-considered plans that provide guidelines as to what developers and home builders will be able to do in the future“.   Have a read; Karol has done her homework and says, “ the draft AUP and his transport proposals are better than anything that a National Party-backed candidate would do once installed into Rodney Hide’s un-democratic super-city hierarchy“.
  • Eddie asks Why First NZ Capital wants you to keep paying too much for power – and comes up with the obvious conclusion. First NZ (not to be confused with those other quislings, NZ First) is up to it’s neck with the semi-privatisation of Mighty River Power. As Eddie says, “… they’re one of the companies in charge of selling Mighty River.   As a ‘joint lead manager’, they get $666,666 guaranteed for doing, well, not a hell of a lot. They get up to a further $1,333,333 based on ‘performance’ – ie. how many people and institutions they can get to buy shares in Mighty River.” Vested Interests, anyone?

And in  Frankly Speaking, Frank pokes the borax at a Tory Letter writer to the Dominion Post when he asks, Do National Party supporters prefer higher electricity prices?

As he points out; “Isn’t it amazing that National Party supporters are so wedded to their political tribalism that they’d rather pay for higher power prices than challenge the existing system?”.

The Jackal, meanwhile, asks, ” Where’s McVicar?” – and points out that Garth McVicar seem to have contradictory views when it comes to offenders, based on their skin colour.

The Jackal also takes National Minister, Simon Bridges, to task for Government plans for  desecration of Maori Wahi Tapu sites. That would be like a foreign company buying up land in the Somme, where ANZAC troops are buried, and turning it into a shopping mall, complete with McDonalds, carparks, and brothel. Never underestimate National’s ability to be culturally insensitive.

Meanwhile, on No Right Turn, Idiot Savant is reporting  more messiness surrounding the appointment of Susan Devoy as Race Relation’s Commissioner, and is learning   How Devoy’s appointment was stitched up. (And something on “Campbell Live” about it as well. This story will not be going away any time soon.)

Aside from smearing someone’s reputation, The Jackal points out that  Rebstock’s witch-hunt fails – costing the  taxpayer a tidy sum of $250,000+. How easy it is for an investigation to morph into a witch hunt – especially when Tories are involved.

Speaking of which, this blogpost seems to have been eerily prescient on the ongoing controversy swirling around Devoy’s appointment; Devoy as Race Relations Commissioner?!

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Blog Post of the Day

No Right Turn rejects Business NZ’s Phil O’Reilly’s assertion that “[p]icketing against a lawful activity is not what unions should be doing“, and then reminds O’Reilly,

“To point out the obvious, the entire history of the union movement is one of protesting against “lawful activities”. Child labour was once lawful. Twelve hour days were once lawful. Being able to be sacked on a whim was once lawful. Not being allowed meal or toilet breaks was once lawful. Being forced to work in dangerous conditions was once lawful. Lower pay for women and non-whites was once lawful. Paying workers less for the same work is now lawful, and underpaying your workers and treating them like shit is still lawful. Protesting against those lawful injustices is exactly what unions are for.”

And ironically, the Irish didn’t fare very  well against their British Establishment masters either, did they, Mr O’Reilly?

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Dumbest Rightwing Blogpost  of the Day

All of them.

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Thought for the Day

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Ghanda - first they ignore you

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~oo~

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

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