What’s important here is that the National Archive makes regular backups of some New Zealand blogs – including this one. So countless millions yet unborn will also be able to appreciate this photograph of the berries and currants I foraged from my garden and ate in my muesli this morning.
November 30, 2012
Gerry Brownlee on inner city rail in Auckland. Skip forwards to 3:25.
November 29, 2012
DPF links to a column in the Dom-Post arguing against Sue Moroney’s redundancy bill, and adds:
Redundancy provisions should be negotiated on a case by case basis in collective or individual contracts. One size fits all laws are bad and kill jobs.
That’s the classic libertarian stance. The problem is that – as usual – the outcomes are completely perverse. People with valuable skills can generally negotiate redundancy clauses, but they can also, generally find new jobs really quickly. Most workers who don’t have valuable skills won’t have the bargaining power to win redundancy payouts, and in the event of an economic downturn they’re the most likely to lose work, and they’ll find it harder to get re-employment.
As is usually the case, the libertarian argument here is a privatise the profits, socialise the costs argument. Having the flexibility to sack marginal workers at no cost is great for business, but those workers still need to eat, pay for accommodation, support their families and so on, so the taxpayer picks up the cost via the unemployment benefit. (I guess the real libertarian argument is that everyone who can’t negotiate redundancy should shell out for unemployment insurance.)
Also, this Herald piece by Rodney Hide on child abuse. His argument goes like this:
Police statistics on violent crime show that many children who are killed are murdered by their mother:
Five of the 15 children killed by mum were newborn babies whose mothers concealed their pregnancy and killed their babies immediately on birth. Six children were victims of their mother’s suicide.
Hide applies his intellect – that put the ACT party where it is today – and tries to figure out what’s causing this. Turns out it’s the welfare system. Because life on the DPB is so awesome, young woman are murdering their own babies and/or committing suicide to avoid it.
I’ve made this point before, but the primacy of the ACT party in New Zealand public life is so weird. The Mana Party consistently outpolls ACT, but if there’s a left-wing government I really doubt we’re going to see Hone Harawira get to revolutionise our education system while Annette Sykes and John Minto get put in charge of Commissions to figure out how to ‘fix’ New Zealand’s economy, and
Malcolm Martyn Bradbury gets a Herald column.
November 27, 2012
Is that McDonald’s ‘I’m loving it’ slogan does correspond to attempts to make their food taste good, via high salt, fat and sugar contents, while the ‘New Zealand: 100% pure campaign corresponds to us filling our rivers with shit and trying to turn the countryside into open cast mines.
If the ‘I’m loving it’ campaign operated on the same level as the ‘New Zealand: 100% pure’ campaign, McDonalds would put chunks of jagged metal in all their burgers and regularly tear-gas their diners, and I guess their CEO could defend that by explaining that ‘I’m loving it’ was a little like New Zealand’s tourism slogan . . .
November 23, 2012
Tertiary Education Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has announced that he’s going to try and create 500 more engineering graduates per year by 2013!
There are twenty-five weeks in an a typical academic year, and forty working hours in each of those weeks. That’s a thousand hours. And Steven Joyce is proposing to create an engineering graduate every two hours! I’d like to see that!
November 22, 2012
The Herald has a Q & A with Paddy Gower – TV3’s new political editor – here. Excerpt:
8. How have you coped with the commentary and in some cases the vilification about your stories this week?
I guess by vilification you are talking about the blogosphere. It comes with the territory. The left-wing blogosphere are coming at me right now over my coverage of Labour’s leadership “issues”. I can totally understand that – people are passionate about their politics, and when it’s their side in the spotlight they don’t like it. It’s just the same when we do stories like the teapot tapes or the GCSB spying issue, but it’s the right wing blogosphere that gets fired up and comes at you. The blogs and Twitter add a new dimension to the public sphere. The passion and debate is great – keep it coming guys, I can take it. I cope by going out and mowing the lawns. They’re always pretty short.
I haven’t discussed this issue with Paddy, but my impression from other political reporters is that political stories are generally very ‘managed.’ Political parties invest huge amounts of money and energy into controlling their presentation in the media, which can frustrate some journalists. If they’re reporting on, say, a leader’s speech, and the policies have been dreamed up by pollsters and strategists, and the speech has been written by the communications team, and the leader’s delivery of the speech has been coached and choreographed by a media trainer, how genuine is it?
I suspect that’s why journalists like Paddy get (very) excited when things don’t go as scheduled, ie the tea-pot tapes, the Labour conference. ‘Something’ actually happens – ie something that isn’t calculated and pre-planned by teams of highly paid experts. Suddenly reporters are finding out something real instead of being led around by the nose. Of course the political parties hate that – they’ve invested all this effort into building a facade, and now everyone can see around it! That’s often when we hear that something is ‘a beat-up’, or ‘a beltway issue,’ or that journalists should ‘concentrate more on policy issues’, ect. But it can also seem a bit bewildering to the rest of us.
Since the Hobbit is currently newsworthy, here’s a link to my Tolkien/Jackson satire piece written all the way back in 2008 (one of the first things I ever posted on this blog). But the comments thread is funnier. My term for people who take satire seriously and then contribute to it is ‘non-consensual satire.’
November 21, 2012
The canonical ‘but what did David Cunliffe do wrong?’ posts have been from Brian Edwards, but they’ve also popped up on The Standard and various other sites. I don’t know how genuine the bewilderment is, but briefly, all politicians – even senior Labour MPs – know that the public won’t tolerate open factional infighting in a political party. We know from history and our own life experience that organisations consumed by infighting are highly dysfunctional and we won’t trust them with government. (If I have a legacy, let it be Mclauchlan’s First Law of Politics: People don’t want idiots running their county.)
That’s why the media jump all over alleged coup attempts and rumours of war. And it’s why politicians bend over backwards to give the illusion that there is no factionalism within their party. So when a senior caucus member refuses to rule out a coup, it’s a big deal. It’s Doing Something Wrong. It’s kind of like your wife or husband asking you if you plan to cheat on them in three months time. You can give all sorts of cute answers like: ‘I haven’t made a decision on that matter yet,’ or ‘That is not the current subject under discussion.’ But really, any answer other than ‘No’ is unacceptable.
So Shearer had no choice but to demote Cunliffe. The press gallery love it when politicians fight in public and sack each other, so we’ll probably hear lots of giddy squealing about how Shearer is ‘tough’, and that he’s finally showing his leadership qualities. But being forced to sack your top-performing MP from your under-performing front-bench is not a great development for an opposition leader. Shearer isn’t being tough, he took the only option available to him because he’s spent the last year making poor choices, which provoked this coup. He’s cauterised a self-inflicted wound.
He does seem to be turning his public appearances around, at least over the past few days – he’s now well briefed by his staff when he speaks (I guess we’ll hear about how we’re now seeing ‘the real Shearer’). So who knows – maybe this will be a turning point for him. But as usual I remain cautiously pessimistic.
November 20, 2012
Having come clean on that, if anyone wants to put together a montage of slow-motion footage of David Cunliffe set to Barber’s Adagio for Strings for me to post on the blog, I’d be very grateful.
David Cunliffe will be stripped of his portfolios and banished to the back benches for disloyalty today after a leadership vote in which Labour leader David Shearer is set to win unanimous backing.
I think the efficacy of this depends on how real the anti-Cunliffe bombast coming out of Labour really is. If David Cunliffe understands that he’s being stood down to make his leader look tough and leader-like, and he has a chance to redeem himself then he has every reason to keep his head down. If all this talk of Cunliffe’s political career being over is genuine then he has no reason not to sit on the back-bench and leak material that will damage Shearer’s supporters and continue to undermine his leadership.