Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the…, in reply to izogi,

    any further than the fact that I think we can’t seem to be bothered improving the mechanism of MMP

    I think that the threshold has been a barrier to new party entry, but remember that is what it is designed to do. On the one hand, you could say it has harmed the democratic diversity of our parliament and encouraged rorts like the Epsom deal that keeps the ACT cadaver on life support. On the other, it has also kept the likes of Graeme Capill and Colin Craig out of parliament. The other thing about the threshold is even if you dropped it to a more reasonable 3% no new party has managed rate any more than 2.85% support at an election.

    My general view on MMP is it has achieved enhanced stability and increased ethnic and gender diversity at the expense of class, philosophical and political diversity – which again is more or less what it is designed to do. The key characteristic of MMP – centralist stability – was arguably exactly what frazzled voters desired when the selected it. People were sick of radical policies imposed by a dictatorship of the cabinet from parties with hidden agendas. The number of parties and coalition arrangements of German MMP politics that so fascinated New Zealanders obscured the more important reality of the centralist stability of German governments.

    The chief electoral reform I’d like to see would be to combat the pernicious growth of a professional political class (Grant Robertson being a particularly poisonous example) that believes in nothing except its own survival within an establishment context. I’d love to see term limits for list MPs, much stronger rules around party funding and some sort of mechanism(s) designed to force our current self-serving elite cadre parties to become mass membership again.

    Another point worth making is declining diversity in Parliament may simply indicate a broad satisfaction within the mass of voters of the decision making classes with the current social, economic and political settings of the country rather than a problem with the mechanism of the electoral system. New Zealand is still locked into a neoliberal economic model because in this country it has not yet collapsed as completely and abjectly as it has in those countries hammered by the GFC and the long, ling great recession. It seems to me that political environment of New Zealand (and Australia) has significantly diverged from that of the rest of the Anglosphere/West since 2008 because we were basically untouched by the GFC, cushioned as we were by Cullen’s surpluses, Key’s deficit spending, and booming Australian and Chinese economies. Lacking a crisis and with what, in historical terms, has been a period of good economic growth the economic crisis of the lower middle classes that has touched off so much anxiety in the rest of the world has not happened here. NZ’s elites and the professional middle class remain firmly in control of the economic and political narrative, and this is reflected in the increasing centrality of the structure of the parliament.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the…, in reply to izogi,

    Until now, virtually all new parties under MMP have needed some kind of help whether it comes from a rebelling MP from elsewhere or from a big party unlocking the door from inside.

    Which probably accounts for their signal lack of success.

    Parliament isn’t the beginning of the democratic representation journey. It is the culmination of it.

    If you think you’ve got a political philosophy that people will vote for you don’t start off with an act of political betrayal to the voters who elected you – not unless you want your party to begin by drinking from a poisoned chalice of illegitimacy that’ll eventually take you down.

    It took 27 years and thousands of meetings in drafty halls and mocked speeches on street corners to disinterested crowds for a Values/Green MP to be elected. But now they’ve been in parliament for 19 years, and they probably still will be in 46 years from now.

    If you want to set up a new party, by all means, But don’t try shortcuts, they never work.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the…,

    115 odd MPs out of 120 owe their place in parliament to the colour of their rosette.

    If they jump party they have betrayed the people who elected them.

    Ergo, waka jump and you deserve to be slung out of parliament.

    We only have a three year electoral cycle, if people agree with you they'll re-elect you in a couple of years.

    I believe 70% or so of New Zealanders share my POV.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: ACL: The best of times, the…, in reply to Richard Stewart,

    Spark arena sucks alright. But it is covered and it hosts much more targeted (and profitable?) big name events. I doubt you are in the Ariana Grande demographic or a follower of T-swizzle, but they are both bigger acts than Grace Jones and Beck these days in terms of pulling power and they played at Spark and they packed the place to the rafters. So you might know where you would spend your cash, but you might also be an endangered species!

    I never criticised Grace Jones performances. She was and is amazing. I just noted the disconnect between the people who actually go to festivals and the people she still appeals to.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: ACL: The best of times, the…,

    Big festivals are anachronisms . So many artists tour nowadays that even in NZ you can see contemporary artists at the height of the powers at Spark and up and comers at bespoke festivals like Laneways. You can get a better vibe at Splore.

    Why bother with Beck and Grace Jones? Mighty as they may have been, their best days were a quarter of a century ago. The only people who would go out of their way to see them can't get a babysitter these days.

    Also, City limits is just at the wrong time of the year. No festival has ever worked after the official end of summer. ACL is in Autumn, but more importantly it is after the schools and Uni have gone back. Everyone is back at work. Everyone is broke. Everyone has used up all their leave. Thoughts are no longer of shorts, jandals and an endless summer. they are of the year ahead.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump 2018, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Now the thought was that because many of the Senate and Congress seats up for election were safe as houses Republican seats then there was no way there could be a change of the balance in Congress or Senate … and then there was Alabama.

    The GOP Gerrymander and the Tea party base was meant to entrench the Republicans basically forever. But Trump has mobilised the opposition like nothing else. Even a top 10 Gerrymandered state like Arkansas can't resist a motivated turnout that has segments voting up to 98% against you.

    The racist revanchists who rallied around Trump got lucky with the Democrat's selection of Clinton. As Stephen Colbert so memorably put it, they were the only two possible candidates who could lose to the other.

    The Dems should rout the Republicans, but the Goldman Sach's Democrats like Clinton who dominate the party are as corrupt and out of touch as any GOP member. There is a high chance they'll shoot themselves in to foot by picking another member of the liberal establishment elite to run.

    Personally, I favour a Clooney/Winfrey ticket. Cover all the bases, them two. Actually, I might not even be joking.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump 2018, in reply to Russell Brown,

    White House comms staff urged everyone to grant access to Wolff because they thought “this was going to be a positive book for the President.”

    These people are spectacularly stupid.

    "Fire and Fury" sold out within minutes of going on sale at midnight, this story isn't going away anytime soon. Henry Holt and Co. presumably made sure the book was run past every lawyer they could find before publication, so I doubt legal action has any legs.

    I have been watching some of the fallout gleefully described by Cenk Uygur -

    The right is going to swing behind Trump, after all he is in the White House.

    The response of the right never ceases to fascinate me. When Trump twitter trolled last week about climate change (for Christ's sake, the president of the USA trolling on twitter, WTF is wrong with these people??) I watched some infowars videos to try and understand. The politics of it - beginning, middle and end - was as shallow as a puddle. It consisted of jeuvenile gloating that the "snowflakes" had been "triggered" and the "SJWs" were whining HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Thats it. That is their agenda. They drill because it upsets environmentalists. They deregulate because it punishes minorities. That it all plays into the hands of corporations is tangential, excepting that it gives them the billionaire donors they need to survive.

    They don't actually have a policy agenda, beyond vindictively dismantling anything their (extensive) 'enemies" have created. It is a very scary form of in-group nihilism.

    Then there is this piece from Wolff's book, also from TYT:

    Watching it I felt physically sick. What a guy that Trump is. He transcends norms of decency.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The hard road to a…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Kiwis (and this is a broad generalisation) love their cars in the same way.

    I know it isn’t fashionable to say so, but I LOVE driving. Driving is a pleasure – it is why we go and Sunday drives and the like. The hipster car haters (you’ll find plenty of them over at the greater Auckland blog) will burst an overdeveloped calf blood vessel at the merest hint of one taking pleasure in the freedoms bestowed by cars, but I really like driving. To many people confuse the hell of the commute with driving in general. Cars are freedom to go where you want when you want or take you places where you can’t drive anymore and then you can walk.

    I know that these days interfering helicopter parents have imprisoned their kids, but for me the first taste of freedom was my bike. We roamed near and far in our little gang on our bikes. But I learned to drive when i was 14 and I got my license the day I turned 15, and I already had my first car. It was REALLY freedom. I got a job largely to buy petrol.

    I use trains to commute and I use my bike for leisure. But I still enjoy driving for pleasure. Cars are a powerful cultural and ideological expression of western individualism and the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want.

    The provision of adequate safe infrastructure for all modes of transport is common sense. People should not die on inherently unsafe routes just because they want to cycle to work. We shouldn’t let the need for multi-modal commuting links to be hijacked by the dreary car haters like Greater Auckland crowd,many of whom seem rather bitter that they forced to live in Auckland and they are not in Amsterdam or some trendy Scandinavian capital.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    Jacindamania of course!

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How journalism looks now, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …when the alpha predator scavengers can’t make a go of it round the ‘print waterhole’ ya know it really is drying up and blowing away,

    I watch this streamer on twitch. His streams are entirely free, as he plays he interacts with the chat and you can get a computer generated voice to say something to the gamer and the stream if you pay a little money. You can subscribe to indicate your support for money, and you can tip the gamer. He also runs the odd ad and he has a youtube channel where aspects of the game are discussed and analysed.

    I hear tell he makes around 300K NZ a year, mostly from entirely voluntary contributions from his engaged community. He’s being doing this for the last six years, since he was 23.

    The question I pose the news media is how come some dude can make 1.8 million in donations playing a game and interacting with people and someone like Jonathan Pie can get 300k subscribers and 150k views per video, how come they can’t make a dime selling their product?

    No one wants to pay for the shameful, gutter scraping rubbish in the NZ Herald. Who wants to pay for something that clearly has no respect for itself, let alone it’s readers?

    No one is interested in smug, biased and out of touch publications where propaganda is dissembled as news by out of touch “journalists” who more often than not are old men and who are in symbiotic relationships with the subjects of their stories, and on whom they rely for a steady flow of “news.” I mean, modern news sites which re-package PR for uncritical release can hardly bleat about the debasement of truth and facts by fake news when they’ve doing nothing but spread propaganda, selective truths and fake news themselves for years to serve their masters!

    The future of news is I think internet sites like the TYT network. They are biased, but the admit it and they are honest. Which beats the pack of lies and self-serving bullshit we get from the like of the Trans-Tasman and the Herald…

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

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