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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Labour's home to Dr Cock-up

This is a tale of two chicks.

They both happen to have doctorates, been placed in charge of putting practical matters right by this Labour government after major policy and preventive failure, have done a monumentally incompetent job, and both been quietly moved sideways after achieving next to nothing and squandering millions.

In both cases Government Ministers refused to replace them despite almost universal condemnation of their "work" until they decided it was time to shuffle off to another bureaucratic position. In all the abstract mutterings about policies, frameworks and procedures no one seems to be apportioning blame squarely on the people responsible for these quite blatant cases of reckless incompetence and gross mismanagement. Well, I'm sick of this overly polite bullshit where no one is held to account. The heads of these organisations are responsible - they make the decisions and advise their ministers. It's time to name names:

COCK-UP No.1: Dr Lisa Ferguson/Leaky homes
COST: $52m to date
INCOMPETENCE: Nov.2002 to resignation July 2005 only resolved 344 out of 3,300 claims whilst staff partied and owners fumed.

As head of the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS) you think she would be trying to assuage angry home-owners; but MP Nick Smith has brought to our attention yesterday that she, instead, thought she was hosting party girl idol for her fellow bureaucrats:

WHRS "had a ‘Sound of Music’ theme party in Wellington for its 40 staff on the evening of Thursday June 30. The WHRS paid for all food and alcohol, and funded airfares and accommodation for Auckland staff. A fortnight earlier, on Friday June 17, a dozen Wellington staff flew to join Auckland staff for a ‘Pacific Islands’ team building extravaganza at the Stanford Plaza Hotel, involving kava drinking and dancing girls. Last December, the WHRS held a ‘Cowboys and Indians’ theme party in which all Auckland staff were flown to Wellington at taxpayer expense. Food and beverages were again paid for by the WHRS. Earlier last year, an ‘Aeroplane’ theme party was held on similar terms."

How did the damp owners greet her resignation:

John Gray, who represented seven Ponsonby Gardens townhouse owners awarded $700,000 in March after a weathertight service adjudication, was pleased Dr Ferguson was gone. He said she was dismissive of claimants.

Former service adjudicator David Gatley, who resigned last year in protest at the way the service was failing to help homeowners, said Dr Ferguson was "completely out of her depth and knowledge" as head of the service. He believed other senior staff connected with the service should also resign."

According to TVNZ's Sunday programme report she had the nerve to say:

"I think we give value for money for what we actually deliver, which is, an alternative dispute resolution service."

And the boggle-eyed, moron Internal Affairs Minister, George Hawkins - the most shambolic of all ministers - says:

"Many people think that we as a government have put out our hand to help these people and these people are getting the solutions."

The solution? Throw money at a bureaucracy that does squat!? What sort of a solution is that? - solving unemployment in Wellington!? Seeing as how he is also the Minister of local government - who let this crisis develop unchecked - you start to see how chronically and endemically useless our State officials really are. And this is all after the experience of case No. 2:

COCK-UP No.2: Dr Ruth Frampton/Painted Apple Moth
COST: $50m to date, $50m over next 2 years
INCOMPETENCE: May 1999 to resignation in May 2002 let moth spread from 1kmsq that would have cost a few million to half of Western Auckland costing $100m and aerial spraying tens of thousands of people.

As the MAF official in charge of the Painted Apple Moth eradication programme she botched from the very start as she focussed on monitoring and research but didn't actually bother about the eradication bit, treating the whole thing as an academic-type lab experiment. In other countries people who make mistakes this big are charged with economic sabotage. In NZ they just get to quit whenever they want without being pushed and recieve no penalties at all.

From the Auditor-General's report 6.122

"Of the 33 recommendations made in the independent review of the response to the painted apple moth, the only recommendation not to have been accepted and acted upon by MAF was to develop a pest management strategy for the moth."

In other words they had no plan, got a bollocking for having no plan (instead continuing to "monitor" the moth as it went completely out of control) and then came back and still had no plan! The Herald article of 24/12/2002said about Auditor-General's report (dumped, you will note, just before Christmas so no one would notice):

"The report found there were "flaws and errors of judgment" by senior MAF staff in response to the painted apple moth incursion.
* There were "poor working relationships" between the senior MAF official in charge of the operation and key people in the forestry industry she was charged with protecting.
* It was "not acceptable" that minutes of key meetings in the early stages of the moth incursion were not kept, the report says.
* An operational plan on how MAF would deal with the pest was finally produced after the eradication attempt had been going for two years.[!!!]...

MAF came under fire for the botched painted apple moth campaign, and criticism fell mainly on its former Director of Forest Biosecurity, Dr Ruth Frampton...

The Greens at the time (May 2002) noted:

“Last year the MAF appointed Community Advisory Group called for Dr Frampton to resign, saying the Painted Apple Moth incursion and attempts to control it were a fiasco.
“Recent developments which have culminated in Dr Frampton’s resignation today further support this view and the people of Auckland deserve a full explanation of what is going on. "

A TVNZ report of Jan 2002 stated the extent of the madness clearly:

""They've caught moths all over the city from Greenlane to Pakuranga to Waitakere, what's the use of spraying this area when when they are simply going to infest from the outside?" says Hana Blackmore of the Community Advisory Group.
However, MAF says traps and ground spraying have those areas under control, but the bushes of west Auckland are a different story, and the moth can only be targeted by air.

"If it doesn't work, other options may need to be examined," says Dr Ruth Frampton of MAF.

"Regardless, if blanket aerial spraying was one of those options - and it has always been an option - then we would have to go back to the government to get their support and funding for that."

Too little too late, lady. Let's look at what she said when this whole $100m waste was only goiung to cost a few million ( From a MAF media release with Frampton's name at the bottom of it dated 19 May 1999

"Decisions about on whether or not to try to eradicate unwanted pests are based on an assessment of the probability of success," she said. "The first step in assessing this is to carry out what is known as a delimiting survey to establish the extent of spread of the pest."

In the case of the painted apple moth, the survey is almost complete, and results indicate that it is confined to a handful of properties clustered together in an industrial area, with another site about 300 metres away. The total area involved in Glendene - including the outlying site - is less than one square kilometre."

"Delimiting survey" - that never ended! Surveyed it as it spread over the city. Eradication yet? No, no. More surveys... And how did Labour try to disguise this unnecessary catastrophy (from Labour MP David Cunliffe's breezy, congratulatory, May 2002 statement

"It is important to note that Dr Frampton had a difficult and thankless task and gave it her best effort. We wish her well as she moves to take up a more technical role elsewhere in MAF...
I wish to reassure constituents that no decision has been made yet on the future of the project. A great deal of analysis is going into the draft cabinet paper."

"Wish her," fucking "well"? She's cost the country 1/10th of a billion dollars, and you wish her well!!!? Fucking hell, I hate to think what you'd have to do to get a condemnation - losing $5 billion? $10 billion? What about a mild rebuke - $20 billion? And as for "analysis" - what about this as an analysis: don't use research academics to do pest control. That simple enough? Recognise a problem when it occurs and do something about it. That simple enough? The latest report (Herald 13/06/2005) is grim reading:

"Dr Cullen also revealed that the cost so far of the Government's war against the painted apple moth in West Auckland is almost as much as if the moth had been left to its own devices.

"In the case of the painted apple moth, the programme is now approaching the bottom-end of the estimated cost of simply allowing the moth to spread," he said.

When the decision was made last year to launch an all-out aerial attack on the moth, budgeted at $90 million over three years, Maf said the pest could cause between $58 million and $356 million in damage over 20 years.

The estimated cost so far of the current eradication programme is $39 million. That is on top of last year's campaign, which cost between $11 and $13 million."

Monday, July 25, 2005


-------------UPDATE: Thu 28 July---------------
New Centrebet odds as at 11am
Clark@$1.80, Brash@$1.90, Peters@$201.00, Hide@$501.00
-------------UPDATE: Wed 27 July---------------
New Centrebet odds as at 3pm
Brash@$1.83, Clark@$1.83, Peters@$201.00, Hide@$501.00
-------------UPDATE: Tues 26 July---------------
New Centrebet odds as at 11am
Brash@$1.80, Clark@$1.90, Peters@$101.00
New Centrebet odds as at midnight:
Very interesting! There must have been some action for them to move it like that. Probably a bit of money going on National. But at this point I'm sticking with my odds as I have given a little bit of credit for incumbency despite recent polls.
Australian bookies, Centrebet have just released their odds on who will be PM:
My odds are as follows:

----2005 New Zealand General Election series----

Option 2: Nat-Lab head-to-head largest party vote.
$01.85 Labour
$01.90 National

Punters are invited to make their selections in the comments section. I will fix the odds shortly and display your name on the board next to your selection.
Option 3: Labour party vote.
Odds...Partyvote %...2002 election/M&F poll&date...Punters
$00.00 50%+
$00.00 45-49.99%
$00.00 40-44.99% 2002
$00.00 35-39.99% poll22/07 TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 30-34.99%
$00.00 25-29.99%
$00.00 20-24.99%
$00.00 00-19.99%
Option 4: National party vote.
$00.00 50%+
$00.00 45-49.99%
$00.00 40-44.99% poll22/07
$00.00 35-39.99% TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 30-34.99%
$00.00 25-29.99%
$00.00 20-24.99% 2002 result
$00.00 00-19.99%
Option 5: NZ First party vote.
$00.00 16%+
$00.00 15-15.99%
$00.00 14-14.99%
$00.00 13-13.99%
$00.00 12-12.99% TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 11-11.99%
$00.00 10-10.99% 2002 result
$00.00 09-09.99% poll22/07
$00.00 08-08.99%
$00.00 07-07.99%
$00.00 06-06.99%
$00.00 05-05.99%
$00.00 00-04.99%
Option 6: Greens party vote.
$00.00 10%+
$00.00 09-09.99%
$00.00 08-08.99%
$00.00 07-07.99% 2002 resultTSelwyn26/07
$00.00 06-06.99% poll22/07
$00.00 05-05.99%
$00.00 04-04.99%
$00.00 03-03.99%
$00.00 02-02.99%
$00.00 01-01.99%
$00.00 00-00.99%
Option 7: Maori party vote.
$00.00 10%+
$00.00 09-09.99%
$00.00 08-08.99%
$00.00 07-07.99%
$00.00 06-06.99%
$00.00 05-05.99%
$00.00 04-04.99%
$00.00 03-03.99% TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 02-02.99%
$00.00 01-01.99% poll22/07
$00.00 00-00.99%
Option 8: United Future party vote.
$00.00 10%+
$00.00 09-09.99%
$00.00 08-08.99%
$00.00 07-07.99%
$00.00 06-06.99% 2002 result
$00.00 05-05.99%
$00.00 04-04.99%
$00.00 03-03.99%
$00.00 02-02.99% TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 01-01.99% poll22/07
$00.00 00-00.99%
Option 9: Act party vote.
$00.00 10%+
$00.00 09-09.99%
$00.00 08-08.99%
$00.00 07-07.99% 2002 result
$00.00 06-06.99%
$00.00 05-05.99%
$00.00 04-04.99%
$00.00 03-03.99% TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 02-02.99%
$00.00 01-01.99% poll22/07
$00.00 00-00.99%
Option 10: Progressives party vote.
$00.00 05%+
$00.00 04-04.99%
$00.00 03-03.99%
$00.00 02-02.99%
$00.00 01-01.99% 2002 result
$00.00 00-00.99% poll22/07 TSelwyn26/07
Option 11: All others party vote.
$00.00 10%+
$00.00 09-09.99%
$00.00 08-08.99%
$00.00 07-07.99%
$00.00 06-06.99%
$00.00 05-05.99%
$00.00 04-04.99% 2002 result
$00.00 03-03.99% TSelwyn26/07
$00.00 02-02.99%
$00.00 01-01.99%
$00.00 00-00.99% poll22/07
Bet closes: 16/09/2005 Results: are for election night % of total vote (excluding informals). TAB disclaimer: this is simulated only.

Centrebet to open election book 6:30pm+ tonight

5:30pm UPDATE
Centrebet staff,

The Prime Minister has just confirmed the New Zealand general election
will be held on the 17th of September. Will you be opening a book on
the result and if so, when?

Tim Selwyn

Thanks for your email
Yes, We will have the books up for that event in about an hour.


I will run a book too and may "peg" it to centrebet's and include multiple options. Have learnt a bit about responding to the market rather than just one's own assumptions from the election date book (see odds history on the post below). Will be more conservative this time round.

ELECTION DATE: PM Confirms 17 September!

Option 1 winning date:
4:05pm Reports from PM's press conference say she has told them it is Sept. 17.

Betting closed!

Congratulations Greg Stephens, Vernon Small?, Michael, Molesworth&Featherston, DavidPFarrar, SageNZ(new), AshleyClarkson, Phantasm., Kevin List, Dave(new). You are correct. Everyone else is wrong.

Rodney Hide reports rumours the announcement will be tomorrow.
With Parliament sitting this week and the next two, and 8 weeks out from the preferred 17 September date (now 3-4/$1.75), we could get a date out of our dear leader after Cabinet has met today, or after Labour's caucus meets tomorrow.

Option 1: Date of the next New Zealand General Election.

Date.......Odds.......(Relevant event)...... Punters

20 August..99-1 TuataraLeft, Asher, Audrey Young
27 August..50-1 (NZ v. SA)
3 Sept......50-1 (NZ v. Aust) Berend deBoer
10 Sept.....1-1 Spanblather,Simon Pound, Berend deBoer, Kate
17 Sept.....3-4 Greg Stephens, Vernon Small?, Michael, Molesworth&Featherston, DavidPFarrar, SageNZ(new), AshleyClarkson, Phantasm., Kevin List, Dave(new)
24 Sept.....20-1 (School Holidays)

Bet closes: At start of statement from Prime Minister or Governor-General (whichever is first) confirming [Option 1 event] has been set.
Bet paid: "Writ day." (Governor-General orders election to be held).
All odds subject to change. No refunds.

----------ODDS HISTORY----------

27/04/2005 Favourite: 23/07 & 20/07 @ 5-1, 17/09 @ 15-1
01/05/2005 Favourite: 30/07 @ 3-1, 17/09 @ 20-1
13/05/2005 Favourite: 30/07 @ 3-1, 17/09 @ 18-1
17/05/2005 Favourite: 30/07 @ 5-2, 17/09 @ 16-1
27/05/2005 Favourite: 30/07 @ 2-1, 17/09 @ 17-1
04/06/2005 Favourite: 30/07 @ 2-1, 17/09 @ 12-1
20/06/2005 Favourite: 20/08 & 17/09 @ 3-1
30/06/2005 Favourite: 17/09 @ 2-1
12/07/2005 Favourite: 17/09 @ 1-1
25/07/2005 Favourite: 17/09 @ 3-4

Friday, July 22, 2005

Queen v Selwyn UPDATE

Both of them, at the same time - but if I had to choose I'd go with the other sister. Sorry Liz :(

The Crown, in it's infinite wisdom, will attempt to prove before a jury that I wrote bad words about the government, ie. sedition. Max. penalty 2 years. A hearing yesterday has set the trial down for 8 days, to begin June 6th 2006 (after Queen's Birthday holiday). Eight days. 20+ witnesses. 12 angry men. $$$$.

It will be the government that shall be on trial: and they will lose. Calls for individuals to exercise their conscience and stand up to injustice perpetrated by the government will always be defensible. Asking others to uphold our constitution will always be defensible. Using anachronistic laws to persecute people and enable the seizure of their computers and printers with a view to confiscation is all a bit... Zimbabwe. They are not making any friends.

I have already pleaded guilty to being a party to a conspiracy to commit intentional damage. Max. penalty 7 years. (PM's office, axe, windows etc.) I don't see the point in persuing the sedition charges for the flyers left in that connexion. The Crown prosecutors have taken leave of their senses. I may have to start treating them with the contempt they deserve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Artificial sweetener?

Charlie's secret ingredient.

Kia ora: Anon@3PointTurn.

TV Review: A gamble of two half-wits?

I love these guys. They are fun-loving role models. That manic energy, where do they get it? Their sports quiz TV show is great mind-blowing entertainment that cuts me up until I'm snorting! Their contempt for authority is worth emulating, is it not?

Ellis: He's always in the news for his spirited antics. I have heard great things about Charlie's. Alas I have never experienced the delight and stimulation of that juice as it is just too hard to get hold of. I hear it is also rather expensive. I can't be blowed sniffing around for that sort of stuff or other pipe dreams; but I'm sure he will reach highs in whatever field he turns his mind if he's not courting danger on some caper.

Ridge: Typically munted. Somewhat the brawn rather than the brains, his part in the team is always bound to cause trouble but you have to wonder if he has the smarts to be involved at any level.

Put both of them together and you are bound to have a great test or trial of showmanship and extraordinary rationalisations. Their obvious ecstasy is pulse-racingly intoxicating. It's as though they are suppressing something, like a naughty secret. It makes them all the more addictive.

(Any comments in the same vein please.)

Friday, July 15, 2005

GUEST BLOG: London learns what it is like

-----------Introducing guest blogger Martyn Bradbury-----------

It was weird wasn't it, that awful sense of vulnerability. I'm sure many of you did what I did, start texting friends and family the second we heard the extent of the London bombings. To have something that seems so distant from our day to day lives intrude upon a sphere where we have so many loved ones was a freaky experience and one that left us angry. Good.

I think that it was important for everyone of us to feel that insecurity, because as dreadful an experience as the London bombings was, it pales into insignificance when compared to many places around this planet. Between 39 000 and 100 000 Iraqis have now died since the invasion, what we felt through London is a daily reality for people in Iraq. Imagine the feeling we had, and now multiply them many many many times over. That sense of insecurity is a driving motivation for people from Islam to attack us, we will have peace when they have peace. There is never a justification for these types of attacks, but there are reasons why people hate us, the sooner we start examining those reasons, the sooner we will be able to do simple things like catch buses and trains without fear.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Brown's land of the light weight crowd

Tze Ming replies:
"Tim may be mad, but I've never questioned his aesthetic taste. 
I've also never pretended that essay was anything other than populist, political polemic... as writing, I think my review of Tarzan Presley in the same issue of Landfall was a lot better."
7:24pm Friday, 15 July
TV3's Campbell Live just had a tortuous self-promotion by Brown and a derisory once-over by Campbell. "Great writing" and Tze Ming Mok don't belong in the same sentence. Brown pretending the book represents self-criticism! All the typical fucking tripe of invalids feeding themselves their own fetid pap to each other. The hypocrisy and delusion is a sickness.


Great New Zealand Argument: Ideas about ourselves
Editor, Russell Brown

RRP: $29.99, Publisher: Activity Press

Dedicated to "the bloggers," media personality and Labour Party apologist, Russell Brown has had his smirk come to life in a shambolically uneven historical homage that would sit smugly with his complacent white middle class acolytes whose ignorance of it's failure on almost every level is, inevitably, a prerequisite of their membership.

The most obvious observation is the paucity of contributors to an anthology claiming to tackle "our great national questions." Margaret Pope's four and a half pages of timeline clarifications tacked onto the end of Lange's speech hardly counts, nor does Gormack's frivilous, throw-away satirical poem where the student in-joke humour of his notes is longer than the piece itself, and nor does the utterly sickening six page white racial triumphalism of Traue. So we are left with only five serious "arguments;" and if they are to stand as the editor's yardstick of our nation's internal thoughts what a sad, risible measure they make.

Brown's presumption that ideas are exclusively the realm of academics frames the entire exercise as a theatre of conceit. A typical badwagon where the hack actors recite their myths in plodding, tepid banalities to an audience of witless drones whose price of admission was to check their brains in at the door and then after the performance both groups not only proclaim a masterpiece but have the gall to claim they are also the critics.

There is no internal challenge. No rejoinders, no debate as such. There are no working class voices here. No James K Baxter, no John A Lee, no Bruce Jesson or Tim Shadbolt or Warwick Roger let alone Bob Jones or Roger Douglas - and certainly no Maori "militants" who Brown evidently thinks unworthy or perhaps incapable of ideas or "great writing."

To anyone genuinely seeking to fulfill the editor's own stated objectives that would make for ideal argument material; but in Brown's cultural totalitarianism of homogeneity these critics, as reported in a puff piece, are just "offensive" and "annoying." Because they might criticise people like him? The fact Brown admits what he thought was his designated token Maori content (in the time-honoured Pakeha tradition) was in fact a corny, satirical poem by a Pakeha bespeaks not just of his own gullibility but an ugly truth of Pakeha stereotyping. The fact he kept in this literary gollywog is not just unfortunate, or appalling, in context of not substituting it for an authentic Maori text, it is simply insulting.

Then there is Traue, a librarian at the National Library who has "lived most of my life in Wellington," explaining what he would say if asked to introduce himself on a marae again - as he had felt akward. What follows is a reactive polemic about "Western European... Christendom" entitled "Whakapapa of the mind." It is a grotesque and squalidly patronising lecture where he instructs his Maori audience, amongst other things, that "those of us who belong to the western tradition believe that reason and natural justice are the right tools to deal with the world," - forgetting the crusades, two world wars or Srebrenica in asserting his superior tones of exclusivity. (He leaves out Mein Kampf and other classics in his cannon of cudgels).

"What I really wanted to say to that group, especially to the Maori members..." he says by way of introduction. Yes, those Maori certainly need to be told what a great thing Western culture is and who better to lecture them than a librarian, and what better time to do it than when everyone is introducing themselves on a marae, and what better place to recite that incantation of belligerence than in a book whose editor has the nerve to blithely introduce it as "The Maori cultural renaissance that began in the 1970s continues to shape the destiny of all New Zealanders." Utterly breathtaking.

If a book claiming to be about New Zealand only had Maori authors and Maori perspectives about Maori and then the token 5% of pages allocated to Pakeha was a picture of a Honky doll and a diatribe by a Maori about Maori cultural superiority designed to be delivered in person by a Maori in a consecrated Pakeha place - would that not seem just a tiny, wee bit, racist? And yet here we have that very scenario played out in reverse. And this pompous disgrace will doubtlessly be lapped up, every last sanctimonious, self-serving, mastubatory word of it by that deeply delusional, insular clique to whom it is directed.

If this anthology represents the whakapapa of Brown's mind it is a 168 page indictment for incest.

There are, mercifully, two worthy essays.

Robin Hyde may be one of New Zealand's more well known suicidal, self-absorbed female poets; but her somewhat dry 1938 recollection of pioneering NZ letters does actually mention non-white contributions.

Bill Pearson's 1952 Landfall essay "Fretful Sleepers" must be one of the most timeless, devastating, lucid, brutally incisive and comprehensive maulings ever conducted by a New Zealand author.

Comments such as "Other nations have lost their sense of purpose; we, a colony, never found one - we had been living on their capital," are masterfully transcendent of the subject matter. It is an outstanding achievement and it would be churlish not to commend Brown for having the sense to select it - even if he may remain unaware that when Pearson says of local academics, that they tend to show "interest in the people they know rather than ideas... His intellectual coterie is a closed shop and he resents intruders." - it could be directed squarely at Brown himself.

Historian Keith Sinclair peers into the future from 1963 with some tame predictions on Asian immigration amongst others and unexciting, journeyman observations like "we export brains and import brawn."

David Lange's anti-nuclear speech at the Oxford Union debate in 1985 when Prime Minister was brilliant, even if arguing an easy moot that he chose himself. But this was more about an individual character at the height of his powers dazzling us on TV than an analysis of New Zealanders. Those not familiar with that historic spectacle will probably find the text quaint.

Lastly Brown exposes us to 2004 Landfall essay prize winner Tze Ming Mok as the newly ordained Pakeha-approved tokenism.

"Race you there" is possibly the most ghastly Reader's Digest sub-editor's-day-off title imaginable. Politically packaged for Landfall's university arts élite the strikingly unintellectual writing is at least a change of pace. The gratingly personalised, ranting teenage diatribe, ending - as it begins - with a nauseatingly strident tone of a Head Girl's assembly speech is thickly laden with all the clichés one would expect and most preposterously of all it concludes with all the nuance of a greeting card.

Amongst the facile and demeaning notions that Asians will "grow this country up" and openly resentful of being supposedly "hidden amid the ranks of white society," (which is exactly what has happened courtesy of this book) the boorish crassness becomes a sort of boasting, childish, grandstanding as her tales of bravado take flight. Using pathetic non-battles with half a dozen National Fronters as a perpetual straw man for her to take down and claim victory she swings from paranoia to shamelessly self-congratulatory - in the extreme. How enchanting.

Mok's tale of Christchurch's public racism upon which so many assertions and crude emotion hangs is not only lacking in credibility but is roughly shoe-horned in. The situation: "Punched... in the chest and ran" and she was "crumpled and crying" on a footpath, remarkably "for 20 minutes." Then later it turns into "was beaten to the ground." What a slippery anecdote. And to utilise her sarcastic method: if the essay was any longer she could have been run over or even decapitated - several times.

How could this vulgar tailor's apprentice make the Pakeha Emperor his new clothes if not without the fawning indulgence of a limp, geriatric and bankrupt court of jesters masquerading as cultural gatekeepers?

To render such sublime annihilation complete, verse and prose fuse in the critique. Pearson: "a community of convenience... like the sheep's carcass that looked alive from a distance but only because it was a mass of maggots busy battening on the corpse."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ELECTION DATE: 17 Sept. now even money

More rather desperate justifications from the NZ Herald's Audrey Young in this article trying to talk up her August 20 date as viable. Yesterday was the reasonable date (post-cabinet press conference) for any August 20 announcement, but it cannot be completely out of the question until next week.

Speculation about hordings surrounding Labour's Shore hack in this post from Mr Bhatnagar may be overdone as to devining the sacred date.

Having telephoned some of the usual venues for Labour election night fixtures I can confirm none have yet been booked at this time.
Option 1: Date of the next New Zealand General Election.

Date.......Odds.......(Relevant event)...... Punters

13 August..50-1 (NZ v. Aust, Sydney)
20 August..12-1 TuataraLeft, Asher, Audrey Young
27 August..50-1 (NZ v. SA)
3 Sept......50-1 (NZ v. Aust) Berend deBoer
10 Sept.....3-2 Spanblather,Simon Pound, Berend deBoer, Kate
17 Sept.....1-1 Greg Stephens, Vernon Small?, Michael, Molesworth&Featherston, DavidPFarrar, SageNZ(new), AshleyClarkson, Phantasm., Kevin List, Dave(new)
24 Sept.....20-1 (School Holidays)

Bet closes: At start of statement from Prime Minister or Governor-General (whichever is first) confirming [Option 1 event] has been set.
Bet paid: "Writ day." (Governor-General orders election to be held).
All odds subject to change. No refunds.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dirty, filthy, swearing, aggro, street scum

2:30am: Trying to communicate with surly street prostitutes may be akward at best, but when you have seen yet another load of half-eaten McD's sprayed all over the footpath from what looks like a car and you knock on the window to enquire as to whether it eminated from there and are insulted and then assaulted by an irrate postitute with bogan in tow proclaiming they have mates "on the CIB" it may be time to draw a line.

At least twice a week I walk back from the Auckland CBD via Hopetoun St and after 8pm the Eastern side is strewn with prostitutes and the Western side (where the Victorian Villas are) is reserved for the civillians. Now as the good burghers of Grey Lynn well know, one side is for them, the other for us, and never the twain shall meet. However I have seen the undesirables hiffing all manner of left-overs out of their cars on "our side," and because I was sober (and to my shame and regret) did nothing but offer a scornful and lingering gaze at the city's filthy underbelly before.

But tonight was different. With many a chit-redeemed 9% bourbon and colas under my belt from a sojourn to the roaring "Barmy Army" HQ at the Viaduct Harbour I trudged my way back uptown through streams of Zurich emblazoned Poms and some purposeful looking blazered Lions members.

And there it was: most of a McDonald's "meal" of varying degrees of crap all over the place. Concerned, I halt. Looking at the car from whence it presumably came, I see a white blanket across both the front seats. Maybe someone is under there and can assist me? So I knock on the window. And keep knocking... officiously. Perhaps they could advise me as to the source of the carelessly, maybe even deliberately, hurled litter. A female stirred from beneath the blanket and uttered something about "fuck off" several times. Undeterred I knock again. More abuse. More knocking. I feign a hearing disability. More abuse. She opens the door and before I can tell her why I am trying to summon her she flails at me with her fists and then a male opens the other door and mumbles something as she keeps striking. Undeterred, I point out the litter but she is in no mood for discussion and she goes at me again (naturally I do not assault her but fend off the blows hits as best I can, stopping to retrieve my glasses. Her male companion keeps a distance (I am bigger than him) while she mouths off.

After some more remonstration and more fists and threats of police protection from her, I take down the plate number and go up to K Rd to find some Police. They take me on a once-around but they are gone. They say the new prostitution law means they cannot do anything and "it's the oldest profession in the world" etc... Whatever. I give them the details (including the number plate which I would post now if I still had it) and reiterate to them the conventions about the street and limits of tolerance.

There lurks within each of us, I suspect, a little bit of Dirty Harry, a bit of Falling Down, a little bit of vigilantism. A couple of prostitutes were murdered only a year or two ago up there, stabbed to death in a most horrifying manner... and yet there they are... with this behaviour. There may come a time when someone asks why should only one side of your local street belong to you and the other side to scum. Someone might ask why scum is given anything at all. Are they our streets? Or are they their streets? Why do the Police tolerate it? If they aren't in control, who is?

After tonight my tolerance is somewhat lessened. I do not expect the cops to bother to do anything. That is for the community to enforce. And it starts tonight. Henceforth they will receive enforcement from me on a consistent basis. If there is any bruising evident tomorrow morning then that enforcement will be strictly administered on an active basis.
Later that afternoon some further observations:
About two months ago Police were stopping cars on Williamson Ave (within 200m of the above incident) and checking for safety belt compliance. One cop would stand on the corner of Ponsonby Road as a spotter and then the motorcycle cop would chase after the offenders as they headed down Williamson. (I overheard the motorcycle cop explain to a driver that he had pulled over why they were doing it). The day I witnessed that there was a squeegie/car window washer making a nuisance of himself at the lights on K'Rd (within sight and about 200m from the "spotter" cop.) Why are they paid such a high amount of money for duties that a council worker could do? If they turn a blind eye on a policy basis towards all manner of "petty" crime so they can focus on even pettier crimes, then what is the point of them?

I suggest community security made up of elected wardens and appointed sub-wardens to replace the bulk of the police "force" so the Police can deal with detective work and the like instead of all the revenue-generating bullshit and choosing light duties that don't get their hands dirty. Police tell me that due to the national nature of the service much local knowledge is lost as cops get rotated out of areas with all the inefficiencies that causes. Wardens would provide a strong continuity, depth of intimate local knowledge, personal networks, visibility, accessibility and local accountability.
-------------OPERATION: STREETSWEEPER UPDATE-------------
Later that evening:
So wandering back from town, across the street this time, there it is. A shitty, white, 80s Honda Accord (number plate: SN3691) with the same blank-looking bogan in the driver's seat. I ring the cops, they say I should confirm it. I make a reconoiter and ring them back. They will see what they can do... Whatever. The central police station is less than a kilometre down the road for heaven's sake! Is it time for a Mugabesquely named Operation: Streetsweeper to put things right?

What I need is a police-type baton made out of an unbreakable light metallic material that I have provisionally named Bronsonite. Tap, tap, tap... Can you hear me?... Hey, don't, mate... I wouldn't if I were you... smash!... Well I told you not to... Well that's because you're in pain... Of course it's going to hurt... Yeah, it looks broken to me too... Now don't make things worse for yourself... Well whether or not I can do that is irrelevant - I have... No, I'm not a policeman...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Guest blog: Politics and Sport don't mix.

----------------Introducing guest blogger Martyn Bradbury----------------

Now, I don't generally give a toss about sport - don't get me wrong, I appreciate the skill required to kick, hit, throw things, but the knuckle dragging mob macho mentality that goes with it has always left me cold, so I tend to never comment about sport or sporting stuff. But sometimes, just sometimes I'm so outraged by something that happens within the sporting
world that I feel the need to stand up and scream 'Oi you NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO'! This is one such case.

Let me see if I can get this completely straight on our upcoming tour to Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, (a man who must be getting close to becoming added to the long list of monsters humanity seems to vomit up), tortures, kills and torments his population in some of the most appalling ways and we respond by sending a cricket team?

Now I know the Black Caps are crap, but I think the sense of insult may get lost on Zimbabwe. NZ cricket defends this by saying that they will get fined and might lose out on co-hosting the World Cup with Australia - well excuse me Mr NZ Cricket but maybe that cost is a righteous one to bear, are you seriously telling us money is more important to you than the principle of not touring Africas Killing Fields? I loved NZ Crickets come back that they wouldn't want to deny the 80 000 black players of the game in Zimbabwe, I mean bulldoze a million peoples houses, but for the love of Christ let them play cricket. The financial excuses for letting the tour go ahead are repugnant and lower the entire concept of sportsmanship, if Cricket is
merely a franchise with no deeper ethos to it, I say let it rot in hell.

Now there are some who have pointed out that this is easy posturing because China and America both are killing people at a massive rate and we seem to be quiet in our criticism in those cases, and I couldn't agree more. China is still in Tibet, thousands go to their death and China doesn't allow basic human rights while the US illegally invades countries on trumped up bullshit reasons and is currently responsible for any where between 25 000 - 100 000 deaths in Iraq. These are dreadful things which our spineless government should be criticising, no question. But to hold up our lack of criticism on those events as a reason we shouldn't have a voice on Zimbabwe is simply nonsense, we can do something small, and that is refuse to play with them. How can you play with someone while their country burns from self inflicted wounds? Politics and Sport shouldn't mix, but in extreme cases you can not ignore the cries of those who are suffering, please note NZ Cricket that while you are over there YOU DO NOT REPRESENT ME! And now you've shown your true colours you won't EVER represent me again.

Monday, July 04, 2005

UPDATES: Horror stories

Auckland motorists in harbour bridge traffic jam have time for sightseeing.

Told you so #1:
HOV/HOT Lanes as examined in a 21 June post are exposed as Auckland's new bureaucratically rationalised future in this NZ Herald article:

Drivers may have to pay tolls to join the fast lanes on costly new Auckland motorways - or earn free use by carrying at least two passengers... Chief executive Rick van Barneveld said there would still be toll-free lanes on a $193 million bypass of Hobsonville and a $1.2 billion extension of State Highway 20 from Mt Roskill through Avondale to join the Northwestern Motorway. He said reserving fast lanes for high-occupancy vehicles or those whose drivers were willing to pay would help to limit congestion by "managing" demand for travel, a legal obligation for road-builders.

Transit's second "10-Year Plan" for the Queen city is here.

Told you so #2:
The NZ dollar's lack of credibility scrutinised on a 28 June post were exposed when it was 70c US and 58c Euro. Less than a week later the Kiwi's now at 68c/57c and falling.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8: Arab cynicism

Al Jazeera's latest online opinion poll may be more a reflection of it's website's viewers than of Middle Eastern opinion:
Which event has more power to alleviate poverty in Africa?

Live 8 concert :
Group of Eight summit :
Neither has the power :

Number of pollers : 2490