Archive for October, 2008

National are climate criminals

October 30, 2008

Greenpeace have been doing something rather useful: they’ve been physically blocking Landcorp from converting carbon sinking pine forests into methane-belching, river-polluting, dairy-producing fart factories.

Bloody good job. Meanwhile, John Key’s MP office in Helensville got badly sent up by the same group. Would John stop climate crime? There’s nothing to suggest so.

Everyone knows that Labour’s ETS is too little, too late in the way of atmospheric polluters. Everyone, that is, except John Key and the National Party, who’d have the government do even less.

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Live coverage

October 29, 2008

Candidate debate, Titirangi Presbo Church. 30 Oct, 7pm.

Tim Groser, N.

Kath Dewear, G.

Mikaere Curtis, G.

David Cunliffe, L.

The meeting’s already 20 minutes late and Cunliffe’s nowhere in sight, leaving plenty of time for jokes about investment in public transport.

Tim Groser wins the toss. He says he used to be an actor. He says he couldn’t leave Wellington fast enough. Not very fitting for a politician.

Primarily: economic issues.

Seondary: social issues.

He’s saying for the first time ever we’re poorer than Australia’s poorest state, Tasmania.

He’s saying we’re the most diasporic country in the developed world.

The econimic foundations are subsiding.

This he attributes to poor education.

He says he’s not a particularly partial National party member.

Cunliffe just walked in.

He’s finishing with a bit about John.

Nest up:Mikaere. We’re about the party vote. Going to cover the ground made by the Greens.

Takes issues with the Diaspora. 30 million Irish passports, 3 mil Irish residents. We don’t know diaspora.

Why do we go to Australia? Because National put us out of work.

Back to the Greens. Apart from achievements under Labour, Greens are inherently consultative. That’s for damn sure!  All you have to be is be a member.

Housing insulation under ETS. It’ll be scrapped by National.

Food labelling. We all know what can go wrong after Fonterra’s debacle in China.

Un-damning the Waitaki.

Save Happy Valley.

Human rights. Keith Lock on Ahmed Zaoui.

Kath’s thanking everyone for turning up. Especially the Res&Ratepayers who’re hosting. She’s Yorkshire. But found Turangawaewae here in NZ. Marketing, own bizness, etc. etc.

Stop acknowledging people!

Been working to reduce plastic bags in Green Bay. I clap and get half the room to follow suit.

We’re all about local involement in decisions. It’s key for us. Why Greens are in local gvt, and why we oppose National’s reduction of the RMA, which reduces the public say, in things like the local Vector substation.

Want to impose 300m minimum between substations and people. Big claps and hearhears.

Safety in food. Everyone wants it. “We’re disgusted the will of most NZers is being ignored.”

A vote for N or L is a vote for harmful foods, I think she said. A deal with Monsanto.

Transport: Pple in Titirangi use their cars, a lot. That’s because there ain’t no choice.

If you care about the kids in the room, the only planet we’ve got, then do something good. PVG.

Natalie Kupanga. Kiwi Party for Tamaki Makaurau. After the party vote. Ngati Parau. From Ruatoria. We were never encouraged to go to University. Highest goal for us was to be a school teacher.

Was a public servant in wellinton and was introduced to individualism. My this, my that. A shock. Was mroe used to “our.”

Went back to school as an adult with 2 kids. Realised potential as a Maori in this country.

One day got a visitor from the EEC. He knew how many Maoris were going to Aussie, and why. “That saddened my heart.”

Standards: attracted to the Kiwi Party. Helped set up the Maori Party. Why? Had a gutsful. The F&Sbed was the last straw.

The sea is our food cupboard. It was taken away from us. In addition to farming. But red meat is not so helpful to us.

So, why the Kiwi Party? I came across an anomaly. The party vote. It may not happen to other parties, but for Maori, the party vote goes nowhere for Maori. In an interview, raised two things about the party vote. Population size, the party vote means nothing. Two votes to the Maori Party is gonna be wasted. Maori Party vote went two to National, two to labour, one to the greens and one to … sorry, outa time. But what about my policy. Sorry, fair’s fair.

Cunliffe. Again thanking the R&R. Acknowledge hte fellow candidates.

I believe your trust has to be re-earend. A sacred trust, you give to you representative and party.

Firstly, nationwide issues around choices. Second: local issues.

This election is interesting. It started out like a game of beach cricket: give the other kid a go.  OK: what is the best answer: change TO WHAT?

Biggest economic crisis since 1930. We’re a small boat. Can be tossed. You need a good skipper, which we have with Helen and Michael. But he’s not proving it.

Skim milk prices down. Dollar down. IMF: global growth down 23% anticipated.

What are doing about it? Incomes per captiter post inflation are up a quarter.

Government deposit insurance, within 40 days of re-election.

You don’t cutcutcut in an economy. You must keep people in jobs, who can pay their bills. That means we bring forward infrstructure. Ensure no-one under 18 is without a job or training. Every NZ worker can get a re-traiing package.

Get students through without a mountain of debt.

He keeps saying “I’m proud of …” Good on him.

Human rights and decency in international relations. Proud of it.

Proud that our vision is a Green vision.  ETS. But what about fairness?

Cops, docks, trees, dogs and kids. That’s what the locals want.

Acknowledge the work in public transport. New Lynn. Going to re-tool bus routes.

The sub-station. I give you this commitment. I will spare no energy to ensure to the extent of my ability that that substation does not get built on the designated site. I’ve had a commitment they’ll move it and I’ll give them merry hell if they don’t.

Question time.

Are we having fun yet?

October 21, 2008

Why am I enjoying this election more than my National Party voting colleagues? I can only put it down to the notion that National people just don’t like politics. It’s true: democracy slows things down. National peole are always just itching to leap out of bed and start taking money off the rest of us. This cumbersome process, a gross approximation of consencus or mob rule, does have a life of its own. It would be so much easier to simply appoint John Key the benign ditator and let us all get on with the important stuff of printing a buck.

Good grief! Even when they’re the clear favourites to get the top podium finish in the election, they’re still not happy. “I’m sick of this election”, whined the colleague. “Too much talk. Not enough action. I like change.”

Just imagine what she’d be like if she was backing the underdog. Well, I suppose National people don’t back underdogs. That’s how you know they’re National people.

Anyway. At least there’s a real crisis afoot, but somehow I get the feelin that even if the economy wasn’t tacnking, all (or most) of the competing parties in the current election deserve credit for relieving the voters of the tedium of an election auction debate. That was really both very tedius and very irresponsible of National. Indeed, it revealed National as a single issue party.

What hurts most is – if National forms a government – how much they’ll forsake their own voters. The truth is that under National, there will be increased job losses, increased debt, decreased health, and increased wealth among people who already have it.

Get your hand off!

October 14, 2008

National will reduce employer contributions to KiwiSaver, and in all likelihood open up at least part of what’s remaining to be paid directly to the employer, rather than putting it into a KiwiSaver scheme.

National will also undo the hardwork of the Greens and Labour to install $1b worth of insulation in the houses of the poor.

So, working people in New Zealand will be spending more money on wasted consumables such as electricity and saving less, even as the population ages and personal debt sky rockets.

We simply can’t afford it.

Health

October 14, 2008

I thought the politician’s health debate on NatRad was about what you’d expect. Claims of past victories, accusations of past failures, and scaremongering of the future. Some assertions:

If the Labour government is tired, nobody seems to have told David Cunliffe, still less so Jim “I didn’t leave them, they left me” Anderton.  The guy knows exactly how to start out sounding calm and reasonable, then just at the end of his first sentence, inject a tone of holy injustice, gliding into a second clause of unbridled passion and righteous incourageability, and then push through the objections and moderations just in time to take breath and finish on “and THAT’S a fact!” or similar. He had me scared, and I was only listening on the radio, half a nation away.

I didn’t hear anyone berate Cunliffe for sacking the Hawkes Bay DHB. And he defended his gummint’s decision not to force Pharmac to extend the breast cancer drugs. His reason – reasonably – was that Pharmac are the experts, and non medically trained pollies have no place telling the experts how it should be. “Where” he asked “would that end?” Jim Anderton: “The day I go to Tony Ryall for medical advice will be the day we know there’s something really, really wrong.”

It is, indeed, extraordinary that Ryall, firmly entrenched in the hypocritical and two-faced “less is more” corner of the political arena, and who’s very own National Party introduced both the concept and the actuality of Pharmac last time they were in government, should now be advocating more political influence in that organisation.

It is however easy to explain: the National Party is shamelessly using the high public awareness and engagement in breast cancer to gain political leverage.

But it was Sue Kedgely of the Greens who was really making sense. She didn’t say a lot, so a bit more detail wouldn’t go amiss, but everytime she did say something, it had the tendancy to set the agenda for the next five minutes. Frequently, she defined the debate. And more than once, that message was: investment in primary, preventative health care saves you, me and everyone else a shed load of dosh.

The Greens have two problems that I can see. One is turning a large amount of moral support into votes. That another song. The other is the very thing that makes them good, which is that they’re holistic. And the difficulty with that is that either they can stray off topic, or they expose themselves to counter arguments which are similarly off target.

So when Sue K starts to talk abot primary health care, she’s not only talking abot preventative medicines, but also about preventative lifestyles. Exercise. Nutrition. While there was some badgering on budgeting from the cheap seats, it’s not a message any politician was capable of opposing with any degree of credibility.

$700b

October 6, 2008

How, you might ask, might dishing up all this money to failed businesses be of any use?

Markets, so we are told by those very same men and woman who have so royally fouled things up, are supposed to correct themselves. When – in New Zealand – a string of finance companies failed, did the government leap to their assistance? Why not? That would have been peanuts by comparison, even if you scaled the U.S. bail-out package down to an NZ economic scale: about 16 billion, or, roughly the entire personal tax take.

Maybe we should have. Maybe we should still.

So, what’s the difference? Is it a case socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor? Evidently.

I’ve looked in all the major dailies and the few economics blogs I can track down, and it’s all rather beyond me to tell the truth. And them. There are two things everyone seems to agree on. One, that nobody agrees on anything. Two, that the benefit this brings to the economy in general and poor, homeless bankrupts in particular is either impossible to understand or impossible to achieve, or both.

One surprising thing I haven’t found reference to. Who are the depositors in the failed banks? And why is the American government not worried about them? I would have thought that if the banks failed, the main problem would be the gazillions of dollars lost by the folks who steered cleared of high loan-value ratio mortgages and chipped away at savings accounts all their lives.

Extraordinarily, perusing the NYT, the Washington Post, and the Wall St Journal this morning delivered almost nothing. All far more concerned with Indecision 08.

This  and miles more from Huffington.

A right royal barrel of monkeys. A dog’s breakfast. A fuck up, from arse-hole to breakfast.

Thank god it’s them and not us.