- Colin Craig: I think National’s position here is that they have to give him a seat. It’s going to be a tight election, the Conservative Party won 2.65% of the vote in 2011, there’s no reason that won’t go down, and it will probably go up. At least some of those votes will come from National. If Craig doesn’t win an electorate but fails to reach the 5% threshold then somewhere between 60,000 to 100,000 right-wing votes don’t get counted.
- Russel Norman is facing a leadership challenge from a Green Party list candidate! Many people who go into politics have leadership aspirations, but the trick is to convince other people that you’d make an astute leader. And challenging an incumbent the term after he’s co-lead the party to an historic electoral victory when you’re in a position of near-total obscurity is not a great way to demonstrate your political acumen.
- It was the 50th Anniversary of the JFK assassination. Not sure if I’ve linked to it before, but my favorite short film about the assassination is Umbrella Man by Errol Morris. Favorite books: Libra and American Tabloid. Favorite feature movie is, naturally, Stone’s JFK. Many people struggle with the historiography; you need to look past that and just enjoy it as a masterpiece of paranoia. Consider the writing, performances and editing in this scene. My personal conspiracy theory? Kennedy was murdered by a small group of nutcases who were contracted to the CIA as part of their ongoing clandestine war against Cuba. The agency engaged in a cover-up after the assassination, for obvious reasons.
- Should we drill for oil? Putting global-warming aside for a minute: if we were like Norway, and had a safe, well-regulated industry in which the profits went to the people of New Zealand then yeah, totally we should drill for oil. Sadly we’re not like Norway. We’re New Zealand! Regulation will be negligible, catastrophes are likely, profits will all go overseas. Combine that with the fact that extracting and burning that oil will contribute to the alteration of the atmosphere of the planet we live on and there’s not a lot in it for people who aren’t in the energy industry.
- A theory I’d like to throw out there to explain National’s eagerness for partial-privatization and weird obsession with ‘Mum and Dad investors’. One of the goals of right-wing political parties for the last thirty years has been the idea of an ‘ownership society’. The theory is that you extend the ownership of capital to the middle-class and the experience of earning dividends and capital gains through shares, bonds etc turns them all into fervent free-market right-wing voters. There were other reasons for the sales – they got to give huge sums of taxpayer money away to the finance sector! - but I suspect National is bitterly disappointed that it hasn’t changed the political landscape by moving us towards an ‘ownership society’.
November 27, 2013
June 11, 2013
These extraordinary events have the shape and feel of a very old and tragic tale. The bones of the story may be found in the mythology of every culture, but I first encountered it in the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table. There it is called the tale of Merlin and Vivien.
It gets so much worse.
May 31, 2013
Every now and then I hear someone in my liberal, left-wing enclave (either real-life or online) wonder at National’s enduring popularity in the polls and question as to why anyone still supports them. Well, the Al Nisbet cartoons and the widespread public support for them are a pretty awesome explanation.
There’s a large – mostly white, predominantly male, generally older – section of the population for whom unemployment, child poverty, Maori and Pacific educational under-achievement and poverty related diseases simply don’t exist as problems. To them the real issue facing the country is welfare-bludging and the vast unproductive class of brown people living lives of lavish indolence, drinking and smoking and gambling in their taxpayer funded homes crowded with expensive consumer electronics. When you think like that, the idea of spending more money to feed the already spoiled children of welfare-bludgers is simply risible. Hence Nisbet’s cartoons and all the online comments and vox-pops agreeing that the state shouldn’t provide breakfasts for poor children because ‘parental responsibility’ and that Nisbet’s cartoons ‘represent a reality’.
Speaking of reality. According to the latest MSD benefit fact sheets (which tell us, incidentally, that the majority of welfare beneficiaries are Pakeha) there are about 2000 people recieving an Invalid’s benefit who are caring for dependent children aged under six years.
Let’s be conservative and assume that there are that many again caring for children between six and twelve and that they’re caring for 1.5 children each and you have 3000 primary school children right there who are growing up in poverty while being cared for by a person suffering from a physical and/or mental illness.
I think it’s safe to assume that these children are over-represented in the cohort of kids who are turning up to school without food. We keep hearing that the solution to this problem is ‘parental responsibility’, not state (or corporate) welfare. But it’s not the fault of these children they were born to parents with depression or schizophrenia or a painful skeletal-muscular disorder that requires that parent to remain heavily medicated. And those parents can’t just magically stop suffering from chronic diseases that compromise their ability to care for their children. Most parents love their kids – if they would they could.
There’s no actual proof that Nisbet’s bludgers exist. The children enumerated in the MSD Benefit fact sheets do exist – but this is where the idiocy of welfare-bludger rhetoric has bought us. People literally want children growing up in conditions of terrible poverty to go hungry because of their commitment to a race-based political fantasy.
May 30, 2013
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says a cartoon published in newspapers is sadly insensitive to the issue of children living in poverty.
She says, “This is not particularly clever and many will find it hurtful and offensive. The worst aspect, in my opinion, is that it stigmatises efforts to address the situation that sees too many of our children living in poverty.
“Beyond that, it is glaringly obvious that the cartoon portrays Māori or Pacific as the butt of its attempted humour. Using such negative stereotypes in this way is insulting and derogatory in the extreme. “
We’ll see how it plays out, but Devoy could be an unexpectedly effective Race Relations Commissioner. If even the totally unqualified, unengaged Devoy thinks you’re a racist then that’s pretty damning.
Nisbet has defended his art thus:
Obviously the cartoon worked. It got reaction. You’ve got to push the envelope otherwise you have namby pamby PC cartoons.
We seem to be perpetually blessed with a glut of old, white men who demonstrate their bravery by mocking the poor, ethnic minorities and other stigmitised groups in the name of taking a stand against ‘political correctness’.
April 22, 2013
NZX data on Contact Energy’s share price, which – according to Matthew Hooton and the Herald’s Liam Dann has suffered an unprecedented form of destruction in the wake of the Labour Green power policy announcement:
So Contact’s shares are at their lowest level for like, seven weeks! And still way above their historic average! Hooton is paid to regurgitate preposterous bullshit, and he’s pretty great at his job, but the Herald’s business editor should be a little less gullible.
April 12, 2013
Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says he is extremely worried about what 3D printers will do to border security.
Mr Williamson says the printers are actually manufacturers of products and 3D computer files can be emailed or downloaded from the internet.
He says household printers will soon be able to produce drugs and weapons, and the country’s borders are extremely vulnerable.
“If people could print off … sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they’re at at that time that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense.”
Mr Williamson says the printers will become as common as PCs and he has asked his officials to think hard about how to keep up with this kind of technology.
I’d have liked to have overheard the conversation between Williamson’s officials in the taxi-ride back to their Ministry.
April 8, 2013
Inspired by this op-ed on Stuff by Otago Law Professor Rex Ahdar, Mclauchlan’s law states that if you make an argument against gay marriage and look like a vile racist if you replace the words ‘gay’ with ‘inter-racial’ then it’s not a valid argument.
States recognise marriage; they do not invent it.
GayInterracial marriage proponents will argue that defines marriage so as to exclude gayinterracial couples, a neat trick that fools no- one.
Not so. Recall their key claim:
gayinterracial couples deserve equal legal recognition.
That is an empty argument. To insist upon equality is to require that “like things be treated alike”.
GayInter-racial couples should not be permitted to marry because they lack the essential traits that constitute true (conjugal) marriage.
We may treat
gayinterracial couples the same as heterosexualhomogeneous couples when it comes to property division, pensions, inheritance and so on, but not when it comes to marriage.
March 25, 2013
Prime minister John Key has defended new Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy as a “practical New Zealander” who will “surprise on the upside”.
Key denied the Government was trying to devalue the role by employing a squash star with limited experience.
‘Surprise on the upside?’ Sounds like a challenge New Zealand! Let’s all have a race-war, turning on each other in a bloody orgy of ethnic cleansing and see how long it takes Dame Susan to stop us.
March 18, 2013
Apparently we were once an egalitarian free-market state but the last few decades has seen a massive expansion of state control that crippled the economy and created a permanent underclass.
Does Rodney Hide believe this? He might – he seems intensely stupid. Or is this a tacit acknowledgement that implementing ACT’s policies during the 80′s, 90′s and – tepidly – over the last four years has ruined our economy with devastating social costs and Hide feels the need to shift the blame? Either way, funny stuff.
February 16, 2013
(Update: Apparently this has been cancelled. Now I’ll have to spend Sunday afternoon with my family instead of Richard Prosser. Not happy.)
Apparently this is a real thing. I guess the goal is to generate news footage of Prosser being abused by a room full of weird, scary looking hipsters, generating sympathy for him with New Zealand First’s constituents. If anyone can come up with a better reason why Richard Prosser is holding a public meeting in the Aro Community Hall I’d be happy to hear it.
Whatever the reason, this meeting is a golden opportunity to question Mr Prosser on other issues, such as whether he still thinks the South Island should secede from New Zealand, and if he still believes he possesses magical healing powers.