Envirologue by Dave Hansford

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Envirologue: Choose Wisely, Grasshopper: the Dilemma of James Shaw

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  • simon g,

    Actual Hide quotes:

    1) it shows they have another leader too shallow and too lazy to think and debate.

    2) They live far away from the productive world sipping their lattes up the Aro Valley following the latest green fad on their smartphones.

    Rodney's irony detector, broken beyond repair.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to andin,

    ...and Rodney Hide withdraws his support for the co-leader of the Green Party. Well that's ruined everything...

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to william blake,

    smallest wiolin

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to william blake,

    …and Rodney Hide withdraws his support for the co-leader of the Green Party. Well that’s ruined everything…

    That column is a dog's dinner.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Without his long-vanished yellow jacket I don't believe that anyone much outside of his tiny fanbase knows or cares who Hide is. When he appeared dripping wet on Wellington bus billboards plugging his swimming endeavours for a get fit campaign, a quick vox pop revealed that some thought that the Rodney of "If Rodney can do it" was a randomly chosen "special person". And that was when he was still an MP.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    some thought Rodney [...] was a randomly chosen “special person”.

    Some confusion is surely understandable when the statement “I’ve been thinking!” is noteworthy enough to serve as a title…

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Without his long-vanished yellow jacket I don’t believe that anyone much outside of his tiny fanbase knows or cares who Hide is. When he appeared dripping wet on Wellington bus billboards plugging his swimming endeavours for a get fit campaign, a quick vox pop revealed that some thought that the Rodney of “If Rodney can do it” was a randomly chosen “special person”. And that was when he was still an MP.

    How many people, besides hardline fanboys, still take the self-appointed Perk Buster seriously after he himself got perk-busted?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to ,

    I too, would like to see changes to the electoral systom, that would lead to less poll influenced voting habits.

    Just to think outside the box for a second, I'd like to see changes that lead to more poll influenced politician behavior. I'd like more signal to pass through our triennial popular vote, but even with the perfect system I think we're already nearing the limit of what can be achieved by that. Even if every nuance of our little tick in a box is perfectly captured and meted out its proportional influence, it's still a system in which more than 70% of the people elected on the night will be from the Nationolaboural party, and they will spend the next 3 years picking and choosing amongst whatever popular (or unpopular indicators) that they like.

    I'm always a little bit baffled when people get bitter on a PM for following polls, like popular opinion isn't supposed to be what democratically elected leaders should be considering. The only part that embitters me is that they get to be so selective about which polls they do follow. But this process of becoming informed about what people want, using the power of statistical analysis is not, in itself, some terrible evil. It could just be less piecemeal and arbitrary, more formalized, more public, more open, less driven by rich and/or powerful minority interests. Then we'd be approaching a more participatory system.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    How many people, besides hardline fanboys, still take the self-appointed Perk Buster seriously after he himself got perk-busted?

    Someone at the Herald must have a thing for Rodney. How else to explain his flickering afterlife since suffering the ignominy of being deposed by the sorry carcass of Don Brash.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to ,

    This is where I’d like to be more quick at typing, and thinking.

    FWIW, I think you do fine.

    The obvios way to get the maximize market share, is to bring to avoid saying anything controversial, or to far outside of the square.

    Yes. Also, I find it hard to get hip to any system that has internalized a market economy so much that political parties would see themselves as companies and voters as their punters. It's not how I see my own political consciousness, as a consumer of big promises and lies, that I pay for with my vote. But, crappy as such a reality is, I don't object to such a "company" doing market research any more than I do for actual real companies. It's how they make their products better for their customers, at least to some extent. The side effect of them using it to get away with crappy product just by knowing how to target their punters better is a stink reality about the level of ignorance about the product that is widespread in punterland. Breaking through that veil of ignorance is more the work of third parties. Expecting the system to do it itself, for companies to have any interest in setting up an environment in which they have to work harder to get less sales, is not realistic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m always a little bit baffled when people get bitter on a PM for following polls, like popular opinion isn’t supposed to be what democratically elected leaders should be considering.

    Yes but.

    Only some people get polled. Only some people respond to polls. People only respond to the question being asked in the poll. And most importantly sometimes people ask for one thing but need something different.

    It's relatively easy to do things that are popular. It is a much harder thing to do the things that are right and even harder to do the things that will be right in the future.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Only some people get polled. Only some people respond to polls. People only respond to the question being asked in the poll. And most importantly sometimes people ask for one thing but need something different.

    I agree. Responding to the populace isn’t usually a bad thing, but ignoring large parts of the populace because they’re unlikely to ever vote for you anyway, if they vote at all? Not necessarily so, and yet that's what I see this government as doing quite a lot of. The government’s meant to be governing for everyone, regardless of who voted it in.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m always a little bit baffled when people get bitter on a PM for following polls, like popular opinion isn’t supposed to be what democratically elected leaders should be considering.

    Leaders are supposed to lead. Not be buffeted about by public opinion. National recently dismissed a bill asking for Warrants of Fitness on rental properties. A kid has now died and the poorly maintained state house they lived in was partially to blame. Now the PM comes out and says that maybe some sort of Warrant of Fitness on rental properties is feasible after all. Bit bloody late for that kid ...

    It shouldn't require a martyr to make the government consider good policy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    It shouldn't require a martyr to make the government consider good policy.

    Perhaps it's a sign of how far Cameron Slater has been thrown onto the back foot that he hasn't challenged a member of the dead child's family to a boxing match.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    It shouldn’t require a martyr to make the government consider good policy.

    Martyr #2 courtesy of Duncan Garner.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Leaders are supposed to lead. Not be buffeted about by public opinion

    You aren't going to convince me of that point just by claiming it again, or forming it as a truism. If an opinion poll showing that people now want Warrants of Fitness for rentals caused the government to decide that is a good idea, then I'm glad I don't have to wait until the next election for them to "lead" us into it by putting it in their manifesto and campaigning on it, before doing anything. Responding to public desire (which can itself also lag behind genuine need) isn't in itself a bad thing. Sure, deaths from poor housing could have been prevented. By National. And Labour before them, and National before them, and so on into the ancient world. But they weren't. At some point a public consciousness of an urgent need reaches a sufficiently critical point that change is a good idea, and I'm glad that being pigheaded about the purity of our electoral signalling as the way for the government to get it's mandate isn't stopping some good being done (so long as it actually does get done - I'll wait and see on this actual point).

    Only some people get polled. Only some people respond to polls. People only respond to the question being asked in the poll. And most importantly sometimes people ask for one thing but need something different.

    This is the more serious criticism of my point. But just take the word "Poll" out and replace it with the electoral process and you'll see that your points here apply in spades to the alternative.

    Only some people get to vote. Only some people do vote. People can only vote for what is on the ballot. And most importantly sometimes people ask for some kind of government, but need something different.

    We have SFA ability to signal through our votes, particularly on the actual things that do matter to us. You don't get to vote on whether we should have Warrant of Fitnesses for rentals, but you can answer an opinion poll on it. After the poll a level of confidence in how much people feel about WOFs for rentals has actual data behind it, whereas after an election it's still all speculation and reckons. We end up having to take polls just to find out why people voted the way they did.

    It’s relatively easy to do things that are popular.

    Not always. There are many popular propositions that have never been acted on, because there is more than just popular opinion influencing them. Sometimes there are strong institutional barriers, or influential minority interests, and sometimes the popular things are actually quite hard to do in and of themselves. Otherwise the public health system in the USA would long since have been fixed.

    It is a much harder thing to do the things that are right and even harder to do the things that will be right in the future.

    "Right" is way, way, way more arbitrary than "popular". You could personally just say that they've never done anything right, and we'd be arguing all day about whether that was true or not. But you couldn't easily say that something was popular or not without some decent evidence, and any evidence against would probably do a lot to sway you. "Right" is a value judgment.

    So comparing "popular" with "right" is like comparing apples to some unspecified other thing that isn't apples. It's not even apples to oranges, because we know what oranges are. But what "right" is is simply ... undefined.

    Which is why it's not much of a guide to say that the government is there to do the "right" thing. Of course they are. But what is that? In my opinion, it's not always even vaguely opposed to what is popular, since that in itself is the popular judgment of what is right. It's only wrong to the extent that the population is wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s only wrong to the extent that the population is wrong.

    And when the majority/influential minority of population is wrong, things can go very wrong.
    Yes there are loads of caveats when it comes to governing people, but these cant be finessed regularly into a get out of jail free card. And populations are becoming ungovernable in the ways that are presented to them through the voting system. Yep in a few places we're just not keeping up.

    Hey I'd like a population that is fully informed and actively interested in doing what is best for all of us and future generations who will occupy this earth. As well as gainfully employed in productive work, being respectful of the rights of others, caring for loved ones, settling disputes and enjoying their lives
    A government that was reactive to the improving of the well being and harmony of all. Helping those in need or sick, educating the young and maintaining community peace. Oh and fiscally (I hate that word, cause The monetary system needs a good shaking out) responsible. Of course, responsibly and truthfully representing the interests of the country to the rest of the world.
    Maybe when we all get high.
    Self interest kicks in. What are we calling it now? Neoliberalism?
    I should stop being so cynical.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to andin,

    And when the majority/influential minority of population is wrong, things can go very wrong.

    Sure, there's no form of government that is foolproof. What democracy has over the others is the extent to which the values of the populace in general come to bear on the choices made. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with extensively consulting that value system. Quite the opposite, I think there's something very wrong with believing that the value systems of the populace should play second fiddle to some higher truth, as administered by "leaders" and "experts in politics". It's not like that hasn't been tried as a system - in fact most of human history was like that.

    But of course entire populations can be wrong. We probably are wrong now about a lot of things. But I suggest that on matters that are scarcely factual at all, like our value systems, it's quite hard for populations to be worse than individuals whose own hubris and wealth can easily bring to bear all sorts of considerations that care nothing for the way the bulk of humanity feels about things.

    It's not like the population is too stupid to consult experts when they're out of their depth. Ask a random person what's wrong with a broken car and they know that a mechanic has a better chance of working it out. What they might not accept (and rightly so) is that some generalist intermediary is better at getting the correct information out of the mechanic, and so they should always let the intermediary decide how their car gets fixed. And yet, that is exactly what our relationship with politicians is like.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    If an opinion poll showing that people now want Warrants of Fitness for rentals caused the government to decide that is a good idea, then I’m glad I don’t have to wait until the next election for them to “lead” us into it by putting it in their manifesto and campaigning on it, before doing anything. Responding to public desire (which can itself also lag behind genuine need) isn’t in itself a bad thing. Sure, deaths from poor housing could have been prevented.

    You are being obtuse for the sake of argument. That is not helpful or productive, it is simply a waste of everyones time.

    The fact is there was a bill before parliament that actually addressed the very issue that lead to at least 2 deaths and many more illnesses.

    The fact is National dismissed the bill because they didn't see the point of reducing the profits of landlords merely to protect the public

    The fact is the moment the polls indicated the public were concerned about the health of the public National changed it's mind.

    That is a government failing in its duty to protect and care for its citizens.

    Your idea of poll driven policy is frankly stupid and no amount of waving your philosophy degree around is going to make it less stupid.

    PEOPLE ARE FUCKING DYING BEN!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    SOME OF WHOM HAVE NEVER DIED BEFORE!

    (won't anyone think of the children?)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You are being obtuse for the sake of argument. That is not helpful or productive, it is simply a waste of everyones time.

    You always say that, and it's always wrong. I'm almost never obtuse, except for humorous purposes, which are clearly signalled, for the very reason that it does waste time, including my own. It's quite arrogant to suggest that you know my motivations like this. I'm arguing in good faith about something I believe, the way I usually do. Please do the same and quit making it personal.

    The fact is that every fact you bring up has been the case for thousands of years, just with different names, faces and places. If National changed this, then at least have the intellectual honesty to see that they actually did something good as a result of an opinion poll. Perhaps the public called strongly for this based on evidence. Good on the public, and good on National for listening to the public.

    Your idea of poll driven policy is frankly stupid and no amount of waving your philosophy degree around is going to make it less stupid.

    I'm hardly waving my degree around here, in fact I haven't even brought it up, because it's not relevant. You ought to think about whether such a comment fits the spirit of this site. Poll driven policy is hardly a wild, outrageous idea. It's a fairly standard extension of the idea of democracy, getting around one of the main shortcomings, which is that people don't have time to answer every damned question. But a good sample of people can have the time, and you can get the benefits of democracy without so much of the shocking inefficiency.

    Furthermore, poll driven policy is not even limited to this government. It would be a fair cop on Labour in it's last term that there was a lot of it. It would be a fair cop on a great many democratically elected governments that they went to some efforts to actually find out what the population want, and it's a credit to them in some cases when they do. I highly doubt a lot of the progressive changes we've seen would have ever come if conservative politicians relied only on their own intuition and peer pressure to decide if something should be done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    PEOPLE ARE FUCKING DYING BEN!

    And sadly there are people out there who aren't merely content with letting people die. If anything they'd be all too happy to pull the trigger. Not quite Anders Breivik's level, but not far from it either.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    The fact is that every fact you bring up has been the case for thousands of years, just with different names, faces and places.

    Obtuse again

    Let me be really specific and see if I can get you to understand why your reversion to the generic philosophical argument makes me so very angry.

    People are living in rental housing in New Zealand that is by any measure unfit for human habitation. If this was sub Saharan Africa that would be fine*, but it is not, it is New Zealand.

    In New Zealand we have had several governments where leaders took taxes and used them to build and maintain housing that was pretty much given to the poor. So that New Zealanders would at least have places to live that were of a standard acceptable in the developed world.

    Note I'm being really specific here.

    Over the last 20 years successive governments have allowed that housing stock to become run down and sold significant portions of it off to landlords to be rented. In addition there has been a huge shift from owned housing to rented.

    It has become clear from numerous sources, in particular the DHBs, that the health of New Zealanders is being damaged by housing that is sub standard, cold, damp, leaky etc etc. A significant portion of that housing is rental housing.

    A bill was put forward to parliament that would set standards on housing that would force landlords (private and public) to maintain houses to a set level. Much the same as we have a WoF for cars that prevents dangerous vehicles from being legally on the roads.

    This National government rejected the bill out of hand. That is a failure of leadership.

    When people died and the issue was highlighted by the media this government responded by proposing essentially the same rules as were in the bill they rejected. It is likely they did polling that indicated they might lose votes if they didn't.

    This is the behaviour I find despicable and that you are defending. To me it indicates a government content to allow its citizens to die unless it looks bad in the polling.

    That is the specific not the generic. It is not a philosophical discussion.

    *not really

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Bart, only a small fraction of rentals are Housing NZ stock. Substandard housing has been a feature of NZ since forever. I grew up in a house that would be considered unsafe by today' standards, drafty, cold, damp. The back lawn was like a literal garbage tip, it took my father weeks to clean it up.

    It's like you're trying to maintain that this is a new problem. It's not. It's not even bloody close. It's not like people died from poor housing in NZ for the first time ever just before National reacted to the media panic about it.

    But looking at what actually happened, we are now in a situation where the government for the first time in NZ history is looking like passing a bill that could surely have been passed 100 years ago if there had ever been the political will to do so. Yeah, they looked at polling and made a good decision. Prior to looking at the polling they made a bad decision. But you want to blame it all on the polling? The polling is the thing that made it better.

    Sure, National should have done this years ago. So should Labour. So should fucking Norman Kirk. But none of them ever did. That's the exact same failure of governance that you're lamenting. With the caveat: In the past it was much worse. I know elderly people who actually lived in houses with dirt floors when they were kids.

    This is the behaviour I find despicable and that you are defending. To me it indicates a government content to allow its citizens to die unless it looks bad in the polling.

    As opposed to letting them die and not even giving a fuck about the polling, like what happened right up until now? I don't think that's better. I think you've got a strange philosophical objection to polling that you are letting cloud your judgement of what actually happened. To the point that it has made you argue that some positive outcome from polling is symptomatic of some underlying evil of polling. Who's being the philosopher here?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    the population is too stupid to consult experts when they’re out of their depth.

    See what I did there : )) Experts in value systems? I bet they are ‘a dime a dozen’. As many as are willing to listen to them I do not know.
    So lets all just figure it out for ourselves, shall we .Right!
    So is there an answer? Well not a short easy one is all I can say.Not anymore.

    Bart

    housing that is sub standard,

    The whole way we build houses and where in this country needs a rethink badly.
    And the way we live! I throw up my hands ; ))

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

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