Posts by ThoughtSpur
Hard News: On the Clark candidacy, in reply to
Yes, I agree with this point. To think that the Secretary General is able to confer favour on their home turf is probably 180 degrees from the reality of the role. It might confer warm fuzzies on New Zealanders to think one of 'our own' is in a big job, that's how we seem to roll - but Clark is a private citizen and applying for a job in that capacity. If she advances her career and good trickles down from it then fantastic - but she isn't representing New Zealanders, except as co-denizens of the this blue marble.
Polity: Mike's minute: Mike's maths!, in reply to
TVNZ is still the state broadcaster and, with ownership comes responsibility, not just a dividend (or return on investment of capital paid for by taxpayers - cash flow might come from advertising sales but the infrastructure: brand and other things that the future is built on was seeded in the nursery of the state).
Hard News: The media awards are dead –…,
Well done Russell and collbaorators. Richly deserved. Congratualtions.
Polity: Is being a tax haven worth it?, in reply to
Not sure which heuristic device is better suited:
• Where there's smoke…
• Methinks he doth protest too much
Interested in your coverage.
The recent spike in interest following Helen Kelly's experience has been fascinating.
Seems NZ is oddly conflicted about drugs. We seem to both delight in out addictions and have a po-faced attitude to it - especially when it's 'other' - as in poor people vs a few too many chards at a dinner party in Remuera. Consistent with wanting change but not changing the flag and approving of 'legal highs' (especially if if comes with correspondent highs in political polls) but disapproval of medical cannabis (under the disingenuous guise of a lack of evidence to counter the orthodox view of the drug). Astonishing that Peter Dunne is chairing sessions. He barely seems able to represent his own views, let alone those of the country.
Other than abusing alcohol I've never even held a lit cigarette, so I've no vested position on drugs - other than hoping for a time when people aren't vilified and harassed for activity that is equivalent to behaviour expressed by the 'majority' - booze v. dope for e.g.
Await your reports with interest.
Hard News: Helen Kelly's letter,
I don't know the cause of Ms Kelly's lung cancer. Often it is a direct result of smoking cigarettes. The government of New Zealand sanctions the use of tobacco products that cause dramatic and negative effects on the population's health and wellbeing. It has a conflict of interest in that it also produces substantial revenue from taxes and excise duties on the sale of the product.
How curious it has such a pious attitude to cannabis - when the science overwhelmingly shows cannabis is exponentially less harmful or costly than tobacco (and alcohol - which also has a free ride).
Give the woman a break. She's fatally ill.
It's hard not to make the corelationship between the government's opposition to Kelly's application because, well, she has publicly opposed them on trivial matters like workplace safety and zero-hours contracts - which may be unfair but where there's smoke, maybe there's fire man.
Day after contrition is all well and good.
My opinion is that this kind of offence is covered by assault laws.
I know the police may have been busy before tomorrow’s TPP signing, door-knocking possible protestors or somesuch but this is a serious, grassroots scenario.
I think a prosecution or two would be in order. Post hoc? Well, you don’t get a speeding ticketed from a camera till long after the fact. In the meantime you may have bowled a couple of music loving elders or even a leary, bleary-eyed yoof, high on Maverick bourbon and Fanta…
Let the court hear the evidence and testimony. Let the perps mitigate their offence after the finding and before sentencing.
In living memory NZ police used to prosecute youths for peeing against a wall, alone in an alley in town after a gig, or on a tree after a match at Eden Park.
It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine some sort of consequence positively affects negative behaviour.
We seem to have enculturated the idea that vile behaviour is ok as long as you offer a bewildered, lame apology. A fish rots from the head down - and yes, I’m referring to the prime minister John Key’s penchant for pulling waitresses’ hair.
Hard News: Review: Citizenfour,
Euan, I suppose some people were changed not only by Snowdon's revelations but also by the simple fact that he was a seemingly benign persona. He joined the march on Saddam, though breaking his legs in training probably saved having them blown off by an IED on active duty. He was and still claims to be that curiously twisted auto nomen - a patriot. Mums and dads across Across the continent probably struggle to see the monstrous hate flecked visage someone like Dick Cheney mouthing the word 'traitor' when what they see is a serious young man, photographed holding the star spangled banner to his cheek on the cover of Wired magazine as if it was Linus' comfort blanket. In the great Snowden propaganda battle it is really a question of who can hold out for the longest. It will be last man standing. God may be of no assistance if the superpacs buy Jeb Bush the big chair (though in the part of my psyche that is lit by the spluttering candles of hope and naivety I imagine Obama pardoning Snowdon as part of the ceremony of office that requires him to hand over the keys to the republic).
As for the GCSB legislation…well, I know that changed some of us. I learned two things about politics in Aotearoa New Zealand as a consequence of that matter. The first is that once a party has secured the treasury bench they can rely on petty plutocrats like John Banks and weaklings whose power comes from a marginal electoral vote and the reliance of a senior party on their sliver of majority to pass a law with significance that echoes into the future but is successfully trivialised by soundbites like 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear.'
The second is that New Zealanders (whatever that means) are highly motivated by apathy and clever pollsters will play to that weakness time and again.
Hard News: Review: Citizenfour,
Before you see this film it would also be useful to read Greenwald's book No Place To Hide. You will better understand some of his issues relating to the relationship between him and Laura Poitras, also his agenda with The Guardian and their man Ewan MacAskill. Understanding the backstory will balance out perceptions of the reportage. I also feel it is important to consider the competitive relationships of various media outlets like the Washington Post and The New York Times and some of their strange inter-relationships with government.
The currency of the Snowden issue has been lost to some extent - there has been no cataclysmic end of civilisation as we understand it. The audience for 'news' has lost interest in the constant bait and switch of the news cycle (a trivial spat about Eleanor Catton trumps responsible reporting of the Sabin affair). The Fox Newslike reframing of Snowden as 'traitor' has been absorbed into the collective consciousness (It takes fewer calories than outrage - and isn't it interesting how the term 'traitor' begins to be bandied about?). Then there is the hubris of local reporters who, in the service of whatever agenda they had at the time, preferred to heap scorn on Greenwald's New Zealand visit).
The film won't be widely viewed and I doubt its issues will be discussed much either. However well made it was, given its constraints, the movie suffers the same problem as Phone Booth or Das Boot in that confined spaces make most of us desperate for fresh air or climax - but Citizenfour has none of that. The drama lies in the implications of the content and not the content itself - it's a bit like being a fly on the wall behind Christopher Nolan's book case - we can only look back with surprise and frustration at what is revealed, but we know that our world has been dismantled in the interim.
Hard News: Polls: news you can own,
I strongly disagree that the way the poll is conducted doesn’t skew the result or impose bias on the result. A phone poll via land line is almost laughable.
“A survey in 2012 by Canstar Blue found that a third of Generation Y in New Zealand have abandoned landlines; 14 per cent of Generation X and 8 per cent of Baby Boomers.”
Those percentages will have increased since 2012 (as is the international trend) – so, if you want to know what the elderly, reactionary and laggard think – go right ahead and give them a tinkle.
If younger voters are going to influence the next election then you’ll need some more sophisticated, or at least meaningful methods of inquiry.
TV3’s Reid poll coverage was a cringe-inducing joke. Patrick Gower was beside himself (in a state of ecstasy) calling the election – months out and before a single shot has been fired in anger.