Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Pomp and Circumstance

287 Responses

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  • Roger,

    Uh, yeah. I was a little shocked when I heard that ACT had been handed that Ministry. There's an awful lot of damage that they can do there

    We shouldn't have been shocked, this appointment was fairly clear from election night. A lot of the ACT policy resonates with many National supporters ("Better Transport, Better Roads" etc) but would be so unpopular it could not be implemented. With ACT as their agent it allows for some of this stuff to be trialled whilst allowing them to distance themselves from responsibility should that be necessary. The rates capping bill now becomes an almost certainty which puts at risk many of local government’s capital works that are exposed to ‘inflation’ well above that of the general rate. This probably draws a line through local government assistance with broadband for example. We should also expect at least investigation of the corporatisation/privatisation of many services… water first. In Auckland it puts a whole new dimension on the ongoing Royal Commission review.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Clearly, climate change is a myth.

    It was sunny yesterday, but now we have nasty cold rain again. Clearly, you must be right.

    Still, there is one upside: grad students will still be able to write theses about the failure of NZ climate change policy, with exactly the same conclusions as the last such exercise.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Rose-wilting heat in Dunedin last year? Unprecedented! This year though there's been lots of snow around so clearly global warming is a myth.

    But no wait, on Saturday it was like 29 degrees here, and my dogs were puffing and panting and hardly got up from their couch all day. Maybe it's true? I'm so confused!

    If only there was a collection of experts, chosen from all over the world, un-baised and independently evaluated, who could tell me what was really going on? Man that would help me out.

    I wish Rodney would set up one of those.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    When the overwhelming majority of competent scientists and the science academies of all the major countries line up behind a theory of anthropogenic climate change, I take the view that I'd be a fool to disagree.

    Sure - but has this actually happened? Every time I take some interest in this topic there seems to be respected scientists on opposing sides and you're left wondering if they can't figure it out then who can?

    With regard to ACT/Maori Party - what government under MMP (unless it gets an outright majority of votes) is not going to have to deal with squabbling minority parties? I don't see this as solely a National problem - unless it is because they have decided to take the "inclusive" approach which involves dealing with widely disparate idealogists. And if that is a bit harder to do then good on them for trying.

    There seems to be plenty of "capitalist pig" theorising going on here (privatising airspace in parks, etc) and that's fine, whatever floats your boat, but I do sometimes wonder, why don't you just sit back and watch what actually unfolds with an open mind?

    One thing for good lefties (which I understand to be the bulk of the scribes here) to consider - the majority of NZers that bothered to vote, voted for National. So while you might not like what is happening, you are now in the minority in this country.

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    There seems to be plenty of "capitalist pig" theorising going on here (privatising airspace in parks, etc) and that's fine, whatever floats your boat, but I do sometimes wonder, why don't you just sit back and watch what actually unfolds with an open mind?

    I'm sorry. That sign at the door saying "No sense of humour allowed inside". That's our wee joke. Try enjoying the conversation with an open mind?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    @ Rik

    Sure - but has this actually happened? Every time I take some interest in this topic there seems to be respected scientists on opposing sides and you're left wondering if they can't figure it out then who can?

    Well, actually the respectable scientist are all lined up behind the overwhelming scientific consensus - that anthropogenic climate change is occurring as we speak.

    A good point to start your research is the New Scientist feature Climate Change: a guide for the perplexed. They specifically address the "conflicting science" myth here.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    One thing for good lefties (which I understand to be the bulk of the scribes here) to consider - the majority of NZers that bothered to vote, voted for National.

    Um, Rik, 45.45% is not a majority.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    One thing for good lefties (which I understand to be the bulk of the scribes here) to consider - the majority of NZers that bothered to vote, voted for National.

    No, a plurality -- about 45% voted National.

    So while you might not like what is happening, you are now in the minority in this country.

    Jeez. Don't make it sound so threatening, dude.

    And I think it would be fairer to say that most people here are much more worried about the party that's acting like 3.7% is a mandate. As I said, I'm quite impressed by Key's management of his first week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    One thing for good lefties (which I understand to be the bulk of the scribes here) to consider - the majority of NZers that bothered to vote, voted for National.

    Some respected commentators say National got over half the vote. Others say they got 45.45% of the vote. Who's right? Who knows? Probably we shouldn't implement the election results until we're sure.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    And I think it would be fairer to say that most people here are much more worried about the party that's acting like 3.7% is a mandate.

    Yes.

    At least Rik stated that the majority voted for National, not National & ACT as many seem to think.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So while you might not like what is happening, you are now in the minority in this country.

    Was that point meant to illustrate some sort of argument? Or was it just an observation? Because if it was the latter, we kinda already worked that one out on Saturday night. Thanks for the heads-up, though!

    (And yeah, the possible privatising of the air in public parks was hyperbole in the cause of humour, in my tiny mind. I love how some of you ran with the concept. :) )

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Hill,

    Still, there is one upside: grad students will still be able to write theses about the failure of NZ climate change policy, with exactly the same conclusions as the last such exercise.

    Now the new government is providing fertile ground for plagiarism ... when will it all end?!

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Oh god, I just realised, it was the Saturday before last, wasn't it? The wound feels so fresh...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    So while you might not like what is happening, you are now in the minority in this country.

    First they came for the people who did not vote for change...

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    Clearly the only Capitalists in parliament right now are ACT....



    get it...


    hehhehe

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    So while you might not like what is happening, you are now in the minority in this country.

    Yeah! Take that, you lefties and righties!

    Nothing can stop the man from the middle - give me Centrism or give me death!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1332 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Tim Hannah:

    Some respected commentators say National got over half the vote. Others say they got 45.45% of the vote. Who's right? Who knows? Probably we shouldn't implement the election results until we're sure.

    Possibly some subtle irony I'm totally missing in your statement, but, erm... its an empirical question. There IS a right answer. The election is run by the Chief Electoral Officer. He counts the votes. Said count is here. National got 45.45% of the vote, and this is unlikely to change significantly following specials.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    The Chief Electoral Officer? On the public teat? Vested interest in the system, with its so-called "results"?

    We need more evidence than that ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1332 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Hill,

    A measly 49.94% of the voters didn't vote for National/ACT/United Future. It gets even worse if you add the Maori Party in ... a staggeringly low 47.7%. No wonder I feel so lonely.

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    We need more evidence than that ...

    The perfect subject for some of that contract commission research ACT wants, don't you think?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    We should also expect at least investigation of the corporatisation/privatisation of many services… water first. In Auckland it puts a whole new dimension on the ongoing Royal Commission review.

    I see Rodney being good for getting Auckland's councils to pull their heads in, in terms of getting a solid model for regional governance implemented quickly. But that's the only positive. I see it being accompanied by statutory divestment of water facilities, maybe through a forced tender-and-sale process, followed by all the rest of the country's councils being told "Auckland's bigger than any two of you combined and it works there, so STFU and do what you're told!" For values of "works" that don't include affordable supply of water to all residents.

    Act's ministerial positions are horrifying. Local government is being done to death in here, but there are other portfolios that are at least as scary. Rodney getting Associate Minister of Commerce, which puts him in the same room as those who have to rein in the worst excesses of Telecom, is potentially bad too. And don't get me started on giving a business freedom acolyte like Heather Roy the Consumer Affairs portfolio. There goes the ComCom's active role in protecting consumers.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    @ Tony - thanks for those links.

    @ Russell - I now know what a "plurality" is! And yes the tone does sound a bit "threatening" so I take the tone back. But not the words.

    At least I got a good laugh out of the responses...

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    They have agreed on the concrete goal of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025.

    The irony of this is that it was Roger Douglas who dealt to productivity in the late 80's promising gain from pain and the Nats who dealt to wages with Employment Contracts Act promising more gain from pain. Whose incomes are they talking about? Most probably not the workers'. And isn't 2025 rather a long time to wait for all those painful gains?

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Some of us - who were young and virile at the time - will be in care by then!

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Webber,

    There is an ACT Party member living a few doors down from our house. During the campaign, she invited neighbours along to a “lounge meeting” with Rodney Hide. Because I like the idea of a Liberal Party (and because my wife had booted me out so that the preschool committee could hold a meeting about playground refurbishment), I decided to go along.

    The start time was 7pm on a Friday night. I quickly threw down dinner so that I wouldn’t be tempted to scoff nibbles at an impolite rate. I needn’t have worried: these ACT guys take fiscal responsibility seriously. Either that or they were concerned about the EFA implications of a few sausage rolls and lamingtons. There no money was spent on catering. No food. No booze. No cup of tea (!). It was Rodney for entrée, main and dessert.

    I have to say that the entrée was unexpectedly impressive. Mr Hide talked about his time in Parliament. He talked about the bullying culture. He believes that general behaviour is atrocious and regrets that he was caught up in the name-calling rubbish for most of his time there. He commented on the improvement to behaviour that the Maori Party (and, to a lesser extent, the Greens) brought to the debating chamber.

    He was generous in his praise of many members: Dr Cullen is apparently easily the brightest member of the NZ Parliament since the retirement of Richard Prebble. He was critical of others (Winston was not given a good review) but his criticisms weren’t ideologically biased as far as I could tell.

    This little reflective introduction was full of self-deprecating humour, his arguments were nuanced and his observations appeared poignant. Despite obvious campaign fatigue, he was very good when talking about people, culture, etc. He was positive and charismatic. If someone had videotaped the first 45mins and put in on YouTube, I think ACT would have got 13.5% of the vote instead of 3.5%.

    Then came the policy stuff… whereupon he reverted to the usual political caricature, complete with sound-bites, generalisations and over-simplifications. The only exception occurred when he talked about education, for which he appears to have a passion (to use the most over-used word in politics, business, sport and careers advisory).

    Anyway, the policy discussion brings me to the point of my post… ACT wants to scrap the proposed ETS. Maybe that’s a good idea. I could accept such a policy if argued along the lines of, “Whatever the source of global warming, reduction of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions is a good idea. However the proposed emissions trading framework is not the socially optimal mechanisms for achieving the required reduction”. But that was not his argument.

    Nor was his argument that the globe’s warming is natural, unrelated to human activities.

    As far as I could tell, his position is that the globe isn’t warming. Or at least not warming significantly. From what I understand, the members of the scientific community that agree with that statement would fit into his SMART car!

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

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