Posts by Sam Bradford
Hard News: Harkanwal Singh: What really…,
I'm pissed off both that Labour did such a crude and amateur job, and that in doing so they let National off the hook for not bothering to collect the data properly. I also get pissed off that any reservations about foreign ownership get written off as xenophobia by my fellow leftists, who don't have the data either. It's a bit like how certain folk will immediately label any criticism of the Israeli state as being motivated by anti-Semitism. So yes, kudos to anyone who can actually shed light on the issue with a clear head.
(I don't doubt that this ridiculous bubble has mostly been caused by locals, but I'll be quite surprised if foreign capital hasn't made it worse.)
Hard News: Lorde, the council and the…,
I'm pretty active in the local music scene and have been for years. This seems like a sick joke to be honest. There are very few venues left -- they've been noise-controlled and gentrified and liquor-policed out of existence. Attempts at DIY venues don't last very long because noise control can shut you down any time, at any volume. I know the events arm of the Council are all in favour of "music" generically speaking, but they clamp down hard on the manifestations that it actually takes in a living culture. It's a bit like politicians who ramble on about "families" but enact policies that seem families living on the street.
Hard News: Music: Places to Play,
Noise control really shits me. They came round to my house a while ago because we were talking too loudly on our lawn during a mellow social gathering. On the other hand, if some dufus wants to rev his skill-saw at 7am every Sunday for two years, that's fine.
I think Melbourne recently instituted a rule where apartment dwellers can't complain about noise from a venue that was there before they bought the apartment. Seems like a good idea to me.
I've gained a lot of respect for Metiria from this. I think she probably knew it would be a shitstorm and a personal trial -- maybe she underestimated how much of one, I don't know. But she wanted to change the conversation, and maybe she has, a little bit. I was really impressed by her attitude in interviews -- not caving to the 'but you broke the law!!' and sticking to her broader point. It's made me much more likely to vote Green because it shows real guts and integrity (ironically, in a way...). After reading their online policy page I thought 'what the hell do they actually wanna do?', but I'm forced to give them credit for a bit more spine now. I'm also impressed that her co-leader, who's struck me as a bit of a glib corporate type, has publicly and immediately backed her up.
On the broader question of whether anyone's changed their mind about welfare and the stigmatisation of beneficiaries, I suspect not. It'd be interesting to see a poll on this broken down into 'respondents who have ever had to visit a WINZ office to ask for something' and 'respondents who have never had to deal with WINZ'. I can't imagine anyone who's had to deal with their chronic bad faith and incompetence would judge someone harshly for not giving every detail.
Hard News: Interesting Britain!,
Corbyn was bad at 'the basics' because he was being kneecapped by his own MPs from day one. How he was supposed to do his job in those circumstances I don't know. The amazing thing is, he's not a good politician in any traditional sense -- but he's won over swathes of new voters just by not being a craven chump.
I do hope this is another nail in the coffin of the shadowy ideology some call Blairism, beloved by none except careerist Labour MPs and newspaper columnists. I do hope this marks some kind of generational shift towards higher expectations of politicians. I also give thanks, once more, for MMP, without which we'd be probably be living in the same kind of permanent Tory twilight that afflicts the UK.
Hard News: Every option has costs, every…,
I'm an ESL teacher, so maintaining high incoming numbers is in my best interests, but I don't think it's sustainable.
The standard of most educational institutions (not mine) is a lot worse than Russell imagines, I think. They will pass anyone to keep the numbers up. There are students who are just there to get a visa who don't give a shit, and even worse, there are some who have spent a small fortune believing they'll get a decent qualification, who are ready to work hard, who get a worthless certificate because the course is designed to pass anyone. Some institutions are excellent of course, but there's no way for students to know which are scammy before they get here. (Tip: the more grandiose the title of the institution, the worse it will be. Zealandium Professional International Business College will be a shipping container in Penrose that hands out student visas in exchange for doing a word-find.)
I suspect the overall effect will be to widen inequality too, as if that weren't already a problem. The large number of 'students'/work visa holders desperate to find a job pushes down wages, and at the same time their presence raises rents and reduces rental standards. As others have mentioned, it also reduces the incentive for employers and govt. to invest in training, and we're already horrible at that and getting worse. (Try, as a building apprentice, to find a builder in Auckland who will pay more than minimum wage, not expect you to work 60-hour-weeks, and who is not literally on crack. Try it.)
I also second those who say we shouldn't overestimate our own appeal. Among the wealthier students I teach (mix of PR and work visa), about half genuinely like NZ and the other half are just waiting til they can legally move to Australia. If our economy suddenly declined for some reason (like a mass realisation that we have no industry except selling houses to each other) I think the speed of the exodus could surprise some.
Speaker: Britain: the crisis isn't…, in reply to
Yes, but if it's about electability--
--you don't win elections by immediately kneecapping your leader
--especially when there is no obvious replacement (if the other contenders hadn't been remarkably uninspired Corbyn never would have won)
--the centrist Labour party was already very unpopular and directionless
--and they haven't actually campaigned to the left for about 30 years. The conventional wisdom is all that the public will never buy it, based on what happened in the 80s, but the conventional wisdom about what people will vote for has been extremely fucking wrong recently. Centrism is dead, or at least the version that lets you talk about how concerned you are that the world is turning to shit while doing precisely nothing about it; and that version of centrism seems to be the absolute specialty of the parliamentary wing of the British Labour Party.
Speaker: Britain: the crisis isn't…,
When Corbyn won the leadership (before he'd even announced policy preferences, preferred shadow cabinet etc), a large number of Labour MPs immediately said they would refuse to work with him in leadership positions, assuming they could get him rolled quickly by refusing to cooperate.
He was voted in by the membership of the party.
To me, that seems like the MPs saying 'fuck you' to the members, and essentially holding the party hostage to their own preferences (who are unpopular with both the membership AND the general public, ie not even particularly electable, because 'Blairite' is still an insult, and rightfully so)
At that point they're not even pretending to represent the party anymore. The party IS the members. The MPs have done everything possible to kneecap him and then complained about disunity.
How is this defensible? Corbyn is deficient as a retail politician, but the behaviour of his parliamentary colleagues has been utterly reprehensible. They didn't for a moment give him a chance, or show any respect at all for the party members they are supposed to represent. There's also the complete missing-of-the-point that at this political moment, 'centrist status-quo politician' is political poison across the Western world (and with good reason).
Anyway, thank fuck for MMP or we'd probably be in the same boat. They're even worse off than the Americans in some ways.
Hard News: Behind those Herald…,
I agree with Ben, I don't think they're even trying to journalism. They've just realised that these stories are a good source of infuriated page-clicks and shares. They're rage-baiting the public.
It's also interesting that 'young couple buy a house' is rare enough to be considered newsworthy. Kind of undermines the narrative in itself.
Hard News: "Meth contamination": the…,
I've seen ads in the paper - franchise opportunity! become a meth tester! It's clearly a racket.
Also particularly nonsensical given that, as many have pointed out, houses (both state and private) which pose far greater health threats are breezily rented out. Ours certainly has a ton of black mould. There's basically no point complaining about it, landlords will always blame you for 'not ventilating properly' even if, as we do, you leave the windows open all day every day, cold be damned... One of those topics that makes life in NZ feel very grim.