Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Game of John Key Gong

Ritchie McCaw seems pretty smart for a rugbyhead. He turned down John Key's gong. These things are supposed to be earned not won, and a bonus culture demon like King John doesn't get it. McCaw does.

Amongst the hoards of National backers getting their royal blue ribbons handed out are some very good Kiwis. Ralph Hotere is indeed a living treasure. Des Britten is steak tartare among McNuggets. Ian Taylor is a good egg.

So it is with a little nuance and diplomacy that as a proud member of the New Zealand Republican Movement, that I declare a 2012 Resolution to not use any royal title or honorific gong from now on. Hey, it's non-violent protest and as far as I can see, not illegal.

Sir Bob is gone, Mister Jones is back. Dames Susan and Kiri are now referred to by their real names, Ms. Devoy, Ms. Te Kanawa. And if I bump into Charlie and Camilla next year, it'll be Mr. and Mrs. Windsor. Or Saxe-Coburg if they prefer.

This is partly a reaction to the non-news that these bi-annual gongs are solely at the prime minister's whim, partly because these gongs are always so goddamn vanilla. A truly NZ recognition system wouldn't have this rigid glass box in the land of the long tail.

But there's a deeper reason to abandon these airs and graces. It's best said by painter, bongo player, strip club patron, cannabis and LSD taker Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner for his work in Quantum Electro Dynamics. We do things for the fun of it:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

Never mind the Xmas period, here's the Official Summer Solstice anthem for 2011; LCD Soundsystem performing Drunk Girls whilst being beaten up and humiliated by Censorship Pandas:

Have a high solstice and a comfortable recovery position. See you in 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shearer and the Crimson Fleece

Congratulations to the new Labour leader, David Shearer. I look forward to a time I can attend a Labour party fundraiser without getting Beasts of England earwig.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Into the Dojo with Mojo

Today's word of the day is brought to you by Big News alerting the public to the hatred of Deaf people by the Conservative Party, as well as this toxic thread of ignorance over at Farrar's place:
Synesthesia - sensation produced in part of body by stimulus elsewhere.

I can't speak for other Deafs, but I feel sounds on my whiskers and sometimes see body language as colours. And I bet my eyesight is better than half the short-sighted, narrow-minded pricks who proclaim their fitness to lead over others. So put your fingers to the speakers and welcome Mojo into the Dojo:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Election results

The final count for the election has been announced. Congratulations to Mojo Mathers becoming NZ's first Deaf member of parliament, as well as Carmel Sepuloni winning back Waitakere off Paula Bennett.

This year's party vote had some serious swings compared to 2008's election:

Party          2008          2011       +/- swing    % swing

National  1053398    1058638      +5204           +0.5
Labour     796880      614936     -181944          -24
Greens      157613      247370     +89757           +60
NZ First     95356      147544      +52188          +58
Maori         55980        31982      -23998           -43
Mana              -            24168      +24168            -
Act              85496        23889     -61607           -72
UF              20497        13443      -7054            -34
ALCP          9515        11738      +2223           +23

The high tide mark of John Key's National government was a scrawny 5,204 votes more than the 2008 election. Labour lost a quarter of its 2008 support to the Greens, NZ First and the enrolled non-vote. The Maori party lost an almost identical chunk of votes to the Mana party. The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is only 1,705 votes behind United Future, which should give the reformers some ammo for public broadcasting allocations next time around.

Boomers in love with Baby Cheesy

Further to my humbuggery post on the Xmas retail period, xkcd has evidence that the Boomers are to blame, as usual:

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christians stole our solstice. We're stealing it back.

Not only do I support the New Zealand Republican Movement to upgrade Queen's Unbirthday to Matariki Weekend, I reckon Xmas should be traded in for Summer Solstice. Not that I'm particularly pagan, but NZers tend to worship the sun more than Baby Cheesy.

Fresh basil, lettuce and tomatoes means more to most Kiwis than the old dogma role of god served with winter trappings. Who cooks a roast in midsummer? Only the morons. Good luck to them. But for the rest of us who would rather be enjoying getting trolleyed in the sun instead of dragging a trolley around a mall, leave it off our secular calendar.

Anything that weakens the Jesus Freaks' Xmas power, or yanks their chain over this theft of midsummer celebration, is alright in my books. Well done Zippy Gonzales impersonator Johnny Depp for featuring in the "controversial" Babybird Xmas song, Jesus Stag Night Club:

And watch out stupid Easter trading laws. Your Fall is coming too.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Undercutting the Unions

I'm glad to see Chris Trotter, David Farrar and John Armstrong agree that unions wield too much sway in the Labour Party. About bloody time. The union poison has been in Labour's veins so long, it's good that someone's finally drawing attention to the infection. From the Book of Trev, the Jim Anderton Chapter:
Anderton went off in high dudgeon and hid himself, while I went to the Pier Hotel with the union delegates and had a thoroughly good evening sharing their booze and arguing with them about the merits of Union support of the Labour Party. I pointed out to them that in fact they were a millstone around our necks and that the average member of the public thought that a trade unionist was just about as bad as a traffic cop or a lawyer.

In spite of unions representing at best a tenth of the workforce these days, the power vacuum left in the Labour party structure by the talented activists and thinkers of the centre-right Backbone Club back in the 90's has led to union dominance ever since.

In ten years, unions as we know them will not exist. Technology and globalisation are wiping out their members' jobs. The EPMU couldn't stop the Telstraclear Kapiti call centre closing down, its functions off-shored to the Philippines. They can't stop the automation of front office functions such as self-checkout supermarkets or automated airline kiosks. And if those staunch union wharfies haven't watched season two of The Wire yet, I suggest they do so pronto.

There are larger changes ahead. The availability of self-tuition has never been more widespread. From Khan Academy to online university papers, teachers' unions are facing competing models of learning. They are no longer the sole gatekeepers of the public good of free education. A monolithic union cannot control the fragmented future of education.

If Labour clings to the unions for their survival, they are truly on a path to extinction. Even tuataras have to shed their skin every now and then. Time to slough off the big-talking under-achievers and wise up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shadow Cabinet boxing

As a thought experiment, I had a go at listing a possible Labour Shadow Cabinet. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Partly due to the culling of Labour's new talent from the election axe, but mainly because there's more dead wood in Labour's caucus than in the Takapuna Reef Fossil Forest:
  1. David Shearer - Leader of the Opposition, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & Education.
  2. Jacinda Adern - Deputy, spokesperson for Welfare.
  3. David Parker - Finance.
  4. David Cunliffe - Economic Development & Commerce.
  5. Grant Robertson - Health.
  6. Maryan Street - Senior Whip.
  7. Charles Chauvel - Justice & Police.
  8. Shane Jones - Infrastructure & Christchurch Recovery.
  9. Chris Hipkins - Junior Whip.
  10. Trevor Mallard - Leader of the House, Energy.
  11. Phil Twyford - Transport, Corrections.
  12. Nanaia Mahuta - Maori Affairs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Waiting for The Fucker

Phil Goff and Annette King have announced their resignations. Well done, thou good and faithful servants of the Labour Party. Labour's decimated caucus has a fortnight to sort out a new leader. Phil Goff's done his successor less harm than Helen Clark's election night dump did for him. But not by much. Perhaps it's time for the H1H2 neophytes to have a swig from the poisoned chalice of the Labour Party leadership too.

It seems from the chatter that it's between Cunliffe/Mahuta vs Parker/ Robertson. Cunliffe's earlier running partner of Dalziel was dropped for the marginally less bizarre choice of Nanaia Mahuta. Strange bedfellows are mentioned elsewhere. Caretaker leader it is then, and so sez Gordon Campbell:
Given that the achievable goal this term may be only to get Labour back within striking distance of National, it will probably be the next leader after this one who gets to form the next Labour-led government. That’s how it worked out for National in its own climb back from defeat in 2002. (Bill English was succeeded by Don Brash, before Key finally did the trick.) Seen in that light, this may be quite a good contest to lose.

On a completely different subject, I can't wait for the next series of The Thick of It. BrickTop from Guy Ritchie's Snatch aka Alan Ford plays the new LibDem spinner. Here's The Fucker firing Tory PR twat Stewart Pearson in the finale of last season's cliffhanger:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Citizens for Rolling

Some advice for Labour; if you want another caretaker/stunt puppet leader to lose the next election, choose Cunliffe or Parker tomorrow. If you want a proper challenger, korero now, change in February.

In spite of Michael Appleby all but crowning Grant Robertson a Labour leader in waiting at the Aro Valley Candidates gig, it's way too soon for him to seek the top of that greasy pole. I haven't met David Shearer, but he can't have less popular appeal than Cunliffe or Parker. The latter two failed their 7 Days test and need to re-sit and do better.

Fortune favours Shearer on many fronts, not least his UN internment. Logistical know-how goes a long way in politics.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sound of Silver

The 2011 election result officially salutes the continuing rise of the gerontocracy. How else could an old stick in the mud like Winston Peters get 8 MPs? Expect to see more spending cuts across the board under Key 2.0, with the exception of the self-interested silver vote. Their loudmouth champion is back in the House.

Dying away? Yeah right, John.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Election 2011 live blog

7:45 pm. Just arrived at Back Benches. Quarter hour before filming starts, emergency red wine and cigarette in the smoking lounge. The Sports Bar has been closed off for the Nat's Wellington Central party.

4 percent of the result counted. NZ First at scary 6-7 percent, Greens at reasonable 10 percent (I'm betting they'll get 15 percent). Labour nearing National's 2002 election result with a not unsurprising 27 percent. National hovering on 50 percent. Once the expected overhangs are accounted for, it looks like Key won't get his natural majority.

UPDATE: 10:15pm. A lot can happen in a couple of hours. Now ensconced at the Green Party's campaign party at San Francisco Bath House. The place is packed with supporters, even though their vote seems to have levelled off at ten percent, a few short of where I expected them to be.

NZ First still sitting on an unbelievable 6.8 percent, the damage done by John Key's failed tea date has led to a resurgent NZ First and 8 possible MPs. Act is toast, with only John Banks holding Epsom and a slim party vote ensuring he will be their only MP. Dunne looks like keeping Ohariu, albeit with a reduced majority.

It looks like Clayton Cosgrove has lost the Waimakariri seat to Kate Wilkinson, while Kris Faafoi holds his seat against Hekia Parata in Mana. Christchurch Central will probably be so narrow as to go down to Special Votes between Brendon Burns and Nicky Wagner.

Ian Lees-Galloway and Chris Hipkins are shoo-ins for Palmerston North and Rimutaka respectively. National couldn't dent them there.

Shooting the Pook

"Yes I've voted" sez the orange man sticker on my desk. In light of the 7pm embargo on polspeak, let me entertain you with a true story coaxed out of the memory banks before the live-blogging begins. Shooting the Pook is Part Two of the Hunter Chronicles. Part One here.

This particular story is inspired by the Pook winning this year's Bird of the Year Award, and partly due to the latest iteration of George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant doing the rounds.


The old man must have set some kind of record for killing things in this country. Long before he worked the chain at the Longburn freezing works, he spent most of his spare youth in the hills shooting a wide variety of animals. Deer were his favourite target. Ducks were probably second. If deer was an epicurean kill and ducks the next skill tier down, rabbits were the equivalent of fast food.

Most days the .22 would lie in the car. Sometimes in the boot but, if he hadn't killed anything that day and there was a spare hour of light on the hills, the rifle would be within arm's reach of the driver's seat. The glovebox was always full of shotgun cartridges, the ashtrays full of live .22 rounds. I had orders to keep an eye out for rabbits as we travelled the back roads on the scenic route home.

"Wind down your window," he'd say as he put the magazine into the rifle and pulled back the bolt. The barrel would slide past my nose and out my window, aimed at the grassy knoll where a rabbit was having its last supper.

I learnt early on I could not be a doctor. I never got used to the smell of intestines. He'd bury the guts in the back yard under stones, so the dogs wouldn't dig them up. In with the dead cats with a bullet behind their ear, which he'd shot with the .22 from his bedroom window. There were strays living under the house, he insisted. Even after a Lost and Found report on the Palmy radio station matched the description and location of one such trespassing feline now pushing up stones.

My father had experimented with a kiwifruit farm out Te Puna way, west of Tauranga. It had what an environmentalist might consider a wildlife sanctuary, but what my father saw as a killing field. Ponds and gullies aplenty for the countless pheasants and California Quail who added their fates in with any ducks and rabbits. The poacher could stay home and shoot away to his heart's content. No need for stealthy racetrack rabbit hunts or Centennial Lagoon Duck massacres now.

It was no surprise that firearms were involved in my father's idea of a manhood ritual. One summer, the old man decided it was time for me to make my first kill. I had shot slug rifles at targets since I can remember, but shotguns were another step up entirely. It was time for my first .410 lesson. If I passed this exam, one day I might even get to use the .308, like my brother could.

My brother had been converted to marksmanship some years ago, and he accompanied Dad and me to the swamplands behind the caravans where we lived. No honourable ducks were at risk from this folly. The rabbits, quail and pheasant were too twitchy for a novice. Even the lowly Miner birds were considered too quick-witted for my first slaughter. I was going to shoot a pook.

Pooks were the very bottom of the skill tier. Strutting swamp hens, they only manage to get airborne from an ungainly waddling take-off. Most of the time they just stand like sitting ducks. They were generally left alone as they tasted much like the swamp crap they ate, but for the purposes of the ritual, this bird would suffice as the sacrifice.

We were downwind from the swamp as we approached its edge. It didn't take long for a pook to come into range. We lay prone on the grass and the old man signalled for me to pull the hammer of the gun back. I did so, closed my left eye and put a bead on the mired blue bird.

I lay there and nothing happened. The pook eventually meandered away and out of clear shot. I couldn't pull the trigger. At least, I knew I wouldn't. It was time to face the wrath of Dad and tell him that I couldn't shoot the pook. I wasn't expecting the punishment, which seemed to consist of never being invited to shoot anything again, which suited me just fine.

A few days after this manhood fail, when no-one was at the farm, I took the .410 and my brother's gun dog Rommel and went back to the swamp. Rommel managed to flush a pook out of the gorse bushes and I winged it as it tried to flee. It sat high up in the bushes squarking in pain. I sent the dog in to retrieve it, but he came back puffed but empty.

I shot at the pook again, but that seemed to make it worse. The branches were blocking a clear shot. I walked back to the caravan. It didn't take long until the shrieks were out of earshot.


And now, here is a photo of some black swans on Wharemauku Pond, a peaceful sanctuary favoured by ducks, pooks and swans alike:

Friday, November 25, 2011

If you don't vote, the vanilla people win

I've been mulling some witty verse to encourage people to vote tomorrow. Jitterati toonist Grant Buist has saved me a sore brain and done an Election Alphabet:

A is for Apathy, born of disdain,
B is for Bullies, who win through our pain.
C is for Children, to stick with our bills,
D is for Democracy, with attendant ills.
E is for Economy, sunk like a stone,
F is for Fear, of a future unknown.
G is for Goff, and his dismal demeanour,
H is for Hollow Men, meaner and meaner.
I is for Income, the median dropping,
J is for Jobs, which are ripe for the chopping.
K is for Key, the dead-eyed ex-trader,
L is for Labour, approaching their nadir.
M is for Map, to help Labour find its ass,
N is for National’s inertial mass.
O is for Outrage, at poor single mothers,
P is for Poverty, swept under the covers.
Q is for Questions, of asset sale sense,
R is for Recovery, at any expense.
S is for Smile-and-wave until you’re bored,
T is for Tax cuts we couldn’t afford.
U is for Unemployment, the gravest of sins,
V is for Vote, so the right lizard wins.
W is for Wage gap, increasing with Oz,
X is for Xenophobia, our charming faux pas
Y is for Yearning, for a future less fraught
Z is for Zzz. Sleep now, critical thought.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I see your nuked fridge and raise you a kitchen sink

As far as the MSM Election Orgasmatron goes, the Tea Tapes look to beat Key's "Show Me the Money" couch jumping to win the 2011 Defining Moment of the Match Award. And fair go too. If Key can escalate a plastic photo op into a legal battle over media freedom, thank Dagg he's not holding a nuclear suitcase or a Suez Canal crisis meeting. We'd all be in internment camps or dead or something.

But for me, the defining moment of the election campaign was what Act's Mana candidate blurted before his meltdown:

"My best mate moved to California and works as a cameraman. My sister's moving to Brisbane next week."

Wave goodbye to your future, NZ. This isn't a diaspora, it's desertion in the face of insurmountable odds on the home front. In all the candidates meetings on the campaign trail, I never heard anyone mention how to truly grow the jobs in New Zealand. The Greens were the closest with their "Green Jobs" initiative, which still seems as plausible a scheme as Canada's internet money scheme from South Park.

Labour talked up apprenticeships, but training's not really an issue. NZ has not just unemployment but also massive underemployment. We are shit human resource managers. There are taxi drivers with PhDs, overseas doctors working as Star Mart operators. Rod Oram spoke on this idiocy a couple of weeks ago on NatRad.

I declare that all parties lack the Vision Thing on economic recovery. All these mumbo-jumbo election promises are pointless when you factor in those dark brooding clouds in Europe, China and the US. 2012 is going to be a cunt, and all we've got to choose from is pussy soundbites.

That said, my party vote's going to the Green Party for the first time ever this election. There are lots of reasons behind that decison, but the three main ones are:

1. There needs to be an effective brake pad on National's use of urgency. I do not trust National to slow down their record of urgency motions. Labour don't cut it either. I trust the Greens to fulfil that function.

2. I want Mojo Mathers to be NZ's first Deaf MP. I hope she has an NZSL interpreter for her maiden speech. The vanilla people will have to get used to that mesmeric waiata some time.

3. After twelve years of being Labour's bitch, the Greens deserve a fair suck of the sav.

My electorate vote is going to ALCP's Richard Goode, because he deserves it, and Kris Faafoi needs to learn a lesson. ALCP are the only party campaigning on a "Grow the Economy" policy too. Hemp for Victory!

As for the referendum, I'll be voting to keep MMP. The alternative choice will be STV, insurance in case of improbable defeat. The FPP and SM vote will lickety-split the vote into meaninglessness.

Book seized, DVD still at large

Story here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Freeview ready for planned obsolescence

By the sounds of John Drinnan's Media column in yesterday's Herald, National are planning to not only kill off TVNZ7, but also seem to be winding down Freeview in much the same way Telecom killed Tivo. It looks like Sky TV will become the monopoly distributor of digital TV content in NZ, and National is relaxed with that.

Good news from Maori Television's Ian Taylor, who is keen to approach the channel's board to see if they'd like to rescue Media7 from certain death, seeing how NZ On Air has become a cross-subsidisation vehicle for commercial popcorn, reality shows and cop porn.

Friday, November 18, 2011

John Bags for Epsom

Voters in Epsom will be offered John Bags at the polling booths this election. The large brown paper bags, emblazoned with an Obama-esque image of John Banks on the side, are being offered to Epsom voters to minimise any harm during election day.

"John Bags have many functions," said Auckland City Mission organiser Les Bitten, who has supplied the thousands of bags. "They can be worn by voters as they enter the polling booths, so they won't be recognised by friends and family. Hyperventilating voters can use them to help ease the symptoms of voting for John Banks. They can also be used to vomit in, avoiding any embarrassment to affected voters."

Johnsonville parishes in the Ohariu electorate are considering a similar public service.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Responsible Tea Dates

How do you fuck up an afternoon tea? How? To avoid future faux pas, I have adapted NORML's Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use to Political Tea Dates:

1. Adults Only. Political Tea Dates should be R18 to ensure the appearance of a mature, constructive discussion.

2. No Ad Libbing. This is a photo op to sway voters to your implicit suggestions, not a place for free and wide-ranging conversation. Stick to the script.

3. Set and Setting. The responsible Tea Dater will carefully consider his/her mind-set and physical setting, and regulate language accordingly. Do not intend to have a private conversation when you've invited the national media pack to stand on the other side of a piece of glass, unless you want the Tea Date to look like feeding time at the zoo.

4. Resist Abusing Opponents. Use of Tea Dates to slag off one's opponents, to the extent that it impairs democracy, personal integrity or achievement, is still abuse, and should be resisted by the responsible Tea Dater.

5. Respect the Rights of Others. Do not complain to the police at the drop of a hat. It'll make you look like a wimp.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Now That's What I Call Pap

Do you want to groove along to John Key's rockingest hits? Sing from the same songbook as Paula Bennett? Then you need Now That's What I Call Pap 2011! Featuring dance hit the Mucky Rena!

Have you heard about the ship they call the Mucky Rena?
She's beached as bro on the Astrolabe Marina
Slowly breaking up leaking oil and containers
Hey, Mucky Rena!

Croon along to SOE Sold Cheap:

SOE sold cheap
Everybody owns one.
SOE sold cheap
To buy schools and prisons.
Funny thing
This money fling won't do anything
For long term growth or jobs.
It's just a short term fix for business groups
To shut their quarterly gobs.

Enjoy the folksy charm of I Am a Sock:

I've built walls
In mighty Ohariu
A stitch up clean and true.
I have no need of thinking; thinking causes pain.
It's being out of power I disdain.
I am a sock
I am a muppet.

Dress up in your government-issued uniform, grab your pepper spray and baton, and rock out to I Am the Law and the Law Rules!

Arresting scum and doped fools
I am the Law and the Law Rules!
I am the Law and the Law Rules!
All I need now is the right tools
I am the Law and the Law Rules!

When will Judy give me a gun?
To stop dead all of those drug mules?
And beat suspects with instead of stools?
I am the Law and the Law Rules!
I am the Law and the Law Rules!

Don't forget Anne Tolley's favourite NZ sea shanty, Failing:

So we're failing
One out of five
They'll never get help that they need.
They're failing
Rotten apples, ditched by middle class fear
So they're failing
Underclass overboard
We'll never see them again.
Out sight, mind. Their parents don't vote.
So we'll have no problems there.

Get your copy now! Available from all music retailers, in association with Radio Jive.

Sandbagging the Stop Banks

My existential opposition to John Banks goes back a long time. Way back before this blog started, further back than even the original gFBT website, where I fought against John Banks' monomaniacal philosophy in Auckland's council chambers on behalf of the strip clubs and brothels.

It goes further back than his time as Minister of Police under the previous National government, where Banks' lobotomised pitbull was unleashed. But we're getting warmer. The 90's were the hey-day of those two devoted Muldoon groupies, John Banks and Winston Peters.

My first experience of John Banks' wafer-thin narrow-mindedness first became apparent in the early 90's. The old man knew Banks, and appeared on Radio Pacific talkback with him. They got along like a house on fire.

The bunker vision was astounding, possibly a result of too much time alone in the maimai. At least I could understand my father's misanthropy. He was a lawyer, after all. But he was well read, whereas John Banks was... not.

John Banks has no time for the Other. Other people's lives, other people's ideas, other people's stories. Hell, even to this day, Banks has only watched three movies; Spice Girls, Laramie, and Sound of Music. Which begs the question of which is narrower, his mind or his DVD collection?

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I'd rather cough blood than vote for John Banks. Alas, it is up to the voters of Epsom to determine whether the richest suburb in the land wants to be represented by the thickest twig in the thicket.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On the Banks of the River Vile

This video of John Banks is doing the rounds on Facebook:

This twatcock is in the wrong party. I keep telling my old Act mates (the ones that still talk to me, anyway) that it should have been Boscawen running in Epsom, not this hateful sack of shit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kissing Hands and Shaking Babies

I've got a bastard behind the eyes this morning. I suspect it may be due to overdosing on attending election Meet the Candidates meetings. This ordeal by fire might be necessary to test the stamina of the prospective MPs, but it has done my head in after only a handful of gigs.

The best of the best gigs was last night at the Aro Valley Community Hall. It is how all election meetings should be held, with wit and audience participation. The Dim and the Dom tell it like it was. The $2 sausages were also damned fine.

The next most fun one thus far was the Otaki bash, where that Guy got grilled. The Hot Fuzz Award for vanilla gothic community hall meeting so far is Maungaraki, where the first open question to the candidates started "This might seem like a self-interested question.."

The most surprising candidates gig has been the genteel and tolerant meeting in Whitby, where not only cannabis activists were welcomed, the 20 year old Act boy-candidate who had a panic attack on stage was treated with kid gloves. The last days of the Third Reich came to mind, where the powers that remained threw untrained boys onto the front line, and here was the "enemy" giving comfort.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bring Me Coffee or Tea

As John Key's coffee shop date with John Banks in Epsom draws nearer, only one question is on newspaper editors' minds; what is the ideal hot beverage for the two Johns to sit down with? I caught up with Emeritus Professor of Tea Service Dr Ted Cosy at Victoria University to find out the most appropriate herbal blend for the historic meeting.

"First off, coffee is not an option," said Professor Ted. "John Banks is on record as hating short blacks, and both men are wary of flat whites during photo ops, as the risk of milk moustaches is quite high. Thirdly, the caffeine levels could throw them off message in front of the cameras. Their PR won't allow that."

"John Banks is known to be very selective about his tea," Cosy said. "Black tea is not an option for obvious reasons. Banks also finds Ceylon tea distasteful. He is a well-known long-time opponent of Flowery Orange Pekoe, although he said that in recent times, his disgust has lessened to merely throwing up in his mouth on rare occasions, like George HW Bush."

"It is anticipated that beverages will be served with a large plate of dead rats to share between Banks and Key, so they should be looking for a tea that will disguise the food's flavours, not accent them. Earl Grey is a contender. Its dishwater base note would neatly overwhelm the dead rats," advised Ted. "Almost but not quite."

"No, the obvious perfect tea for John Banks and John Key is St John's Wort."

Monday, November 07, 2011

Fucking judges, how do they work?

Not as well as the parole board, according to National party policy.

I thought I had misheard NatRad's announcement of National's Law and Order policy. Even when Darth Vader in Pearls herself appeared on Checkpoint explaining the policy I couldn't quite wrap my brain around it. But it seems that National wants the Parole Board to have the ability to appeal to the High Court near the end of someone's prison sentence and incarcerate them indefinitely. No Right Turn goes into the details.

Preventative Detention is available to judges during sentencing, a novelty borne out of the last decade of Labour and National outbidding each other to show how tough on crime they are. But this plainly is not harsh enough, and National now wants the ability for the Parole Board to add time onto full sentences served.

The whole point of the rule of law is to prevent arbitrary sentencing, yet this is plainly want National are seeking. Indeed, National's MO for law and order policy seems to be one knee jerk reaction after another.

Clayton Weatherston unsuccessfully used provocation as a defence, and National changed the law. The Waihopai Three used the "claim of right" defence successfully. Not only did National change the law, they are suing the penniless priests for damages. Tame Iti's Flightless Circus managed to get some video evidence ruled inadmissible and National changed the law (with the help of Labour). And now, with the imminent release of an unrepentant "Beast of Blenheim," National wants to change the law again.

National clearly has no respect for Lady Justice.

In unrelated news, Rodney Hide is threatening to disband the democratically elected Hamilton City Council for the losses incurred by the failed V8 money-spinner. Perhaps this is an obtuse dig at his Epsom replacement John Banks, who threw $2.5 million of Auckland City ratepayers' money down the toilet over a wasted run of My Fair Lady.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

147 Too Big To Fail Corporations on the Wall

Further to yesterday's look at the doomed round of G-20 talks, New Scientist points to research on the interconnectedness of international business. The capitalist network is made primarily of 1318 corporations, of which 147 companies are superconnected. The Top 50 list of these hubs is almost exclusively money movers and includes Lehman Brothers, due to when the data was collected.

Centre Left Insults Tories Offending Right Inclined Supporters

My, my. Aren't the Nats a bunch of sensitive little darlings all of a sudden. Must be election season. David Farrar, Cameron Slater and others are joining the latest round of Labour-bashing, this time over a radio blab. The conversation went something like this:

Cheeky Honky Nat: I'd nail Metiria Turei. I suspect she'd nail me. Who would you nail?
Smug Labourite: Well, I wouldn't nail Judith Collins ever.

Cue shock, horror and revulsion at Smug Labourite. The woman who doesn't mind being known as Darth Vader in Pearls is hamming up the perceived injury like a footballer looking for a penalty. The man who wanted a Governor General who looked like one of us is somehow off the hook, and Cunliffe ends up apologising to Collins.

This year's Used Panties Award for Dirty Campaigning still seems a shoo-in for the Nats, while Labour looks set to end up with the Skidmarked Gruts.

Friday, November 04, 2011


David Rothkopf over at Foreign Policy has a good list of 20 Things the G-20 could focus on achieving. Here's a taste from the introduction:
But the new reality for the United States is it can't bully anyone into action or make problems go away with a sweep of its check-writing pen. Nor, for that matter, can the Chinese, despite the size of their reserves. The Europeans will have to play a central role, and the rest of the world's leading countries will have to collaborate. Indeed, a central irony to this entire crisis is that though it looks like a debate about how tightly linked European countries wish to be, it is actually a demonstration that virtually all the world's countries are already linked far more tightly than any electorate would willingly approve in a national referendum. The markets have engineered the integration without benefit of public consultation, and it is now up to people everywhere to pay into this system of someone else's devising -- one which serves the interests of global bankers rather better than it seems to those of average citizens, lofty rhetoric about rising tides aside. (While rising tides may lift all boats, those without boats are left to sink or swim.) 
Several heresies are mentioned, including a global central bank and a Tobin tax. In related news, Bill Gates is the latest sleb to support a Robin Hood/ Tobin tax.

Palin Postcards from Otaki

Just returned from a cannabis law reform protest outside the Meet the Candidates Town Hall meeting in Otaki. I left my notebook at home, and ended up writing notes from the meeting on my palm. Hence, I have to blog now or let the night terrors wash my notes away.

Organised by the Otaki Rotary Club and held at the War Memorial Hall, I was somewhat disappointed that they had excluded local ALCP candidate Fred MacDonald from talking at the meeting. He was in the audience and wasn't so much as offered a two minute address during the ninety minute meeting. Mind you, Katrina Shanks didn't speak at last night's Tawa meeting either, albeit for different reasons. Shanks is not so eager to win her Ohariu seat from Dunne. Call it Goldsmith Syndrome.

The four permitted candidates for the Otaki meeting were incumbent National MP Nathan Guy, Labour's Peter Foster, the Greens' Michael Gilchrist and some old geezer for NZ First. I had the misfortune of sitting adjacent to Nathan Guy's campaign manager, so I had to put up with lots of happy clapping during Guy's answers.

Guy started the gig professionally enough, but audience derision started promptly after he justified the expressway bypass as good for Otaki. Freudian slips such as "National are encouraging people into unemployment" were unforced errors of his own design. When a question on the MMP referendum popped up, I was surprised that he limited his criticisms of MMP to rural electorate sizes. Not once did he mention the party line of SM.

His defence of National Standards was similarly limp. So much so, I felt confident enough to speak up and put the boot in a couple of times, much to his campaign manager's chagrin. So much for Stephen Joyce's apprentice. I was underwhelmed by that Guy.

Labour's Peter Foster all but read off his notes all evening. He seemed most clued up when advising on Labour's release schedule for policy in the coming week. He hardly scratched Guy on the SOE sell-downs. I would have expected more policy detail and conviction from a lawyer, yet Foster seems to be treating the candidate run as a fruitless part-time pursuit.

The Green Party's Michael Gilchrist had hot and cold moments during his responses. Even so, he was arguably the "winner" on the night. He mentioned the insulation scheme that the Nats pinched off the Greens, and was fond of the word alienation. e.g. alienation of state assets, of youth unemployment.

It is worth noting at this point that the only brown fellas in the room were Gilchrist and Foster. The audience was almost entirely elderly and white. No young families. The only genuinely young person in the room was the More FM reporter. Not exactly representative of Brotaki at large.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Printing Jobs

Prime Minister John Key today unveiled the National Party's Employment Initiative policy which, if implemented, could see up to 100,000 new jobs created in the next 12 months.

"The Brand Management Work scheme is based on our Labour-plus focus group results, which showed a strong preference for cost effective training programs as a welfare solution," said John Key at Goodfellow Motors on Parnell Rise, where he was opening a new BMW showroom.

"A range of solutions were suggested at the focus groups, such as work teams to dig holes and fill them in again. This idea meshed well with our Fear and Loathing focus groups, who concluded that the public are still worried about the road toll, even though it has been trending down for decades. Accordingly, National has been building roads of National significance in our first term.

"However, I'm sure that many of the familiar faces I see in the audience are aware that the road toll has been a fantastic smokescreen to subsidise the road freight lobby with greater cost efficiencies at public expense," added Key, ad libbing from his speech notes.

"National will continue this corporate welfare next term, with a massive re-branding exercise for welfare beneficiaries. Renaming all the welfare benefits will require hundreds of consultants, legal clerks and IT support to facilitate the re-branding. The printing sector, already undergoing a boom due to the election campaign, will continue to enjoy growth as all the paperwork will need to be updated," said Key.

His speech was interrupted briefly by Occupy Auckland protesters who chanted "JUN KEY, JUN KEY, addicted power and money" before the Armed Offenders Squad arrived to contain the protest.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Good times at Te Wharewaka

Good times were had last night as Maori Television's Native Affairs show held their live Kowhiri 11 at the brand new Te Wharewaka down on Wellington's waterfront. The Maori politics program is holding town hall meetings in all the Maori electorates during the election campaign, and last night was Te Tai Tonga's turn.

Your intrepid cannabis campaigner/ blogger was there to witness the evening. A bunch of cannabis law reformers staked out a mini protest outside the entrance to Te Wharewaka, educating the invited studio audience arriving before the gig. Had a few good yarns with a Mana supporter and an old Labour hand. In the quieter moments, I watched the TVNZ Key Goff-off on the cafe's TV. The reggae music that had been playing earlier on over the PA had been switched off in favour of the leader's debate.

We behaved ourselves and were rewarded with invites to the filming of the Native Affairs debate. I have been in the studio audience of TVNZ shows such as Media 7 and Back Benches, but Maori Television's way of doing things is unique. The floor manager kept the audience in check with korero and ka pais. During broadcast, the audience was more bolshie and good humoured than regular studio audiences, more like a wharenui crowd than the studio seat warmers.

But the big surprise of the night was how the electorate candidates handled the debate. The candidates for Te Tai Tonga are the Maori Party's Rahui Katene, Labour's Rino Tirikatene, the Greens' Dora Langsbury and Mana Party's Clinton Dearlove.

The Maori Party's Katene got some stick from the audience over the party's close links with the National Party. A seat at the cabinet table was treated with the disdain of lying down with dogs. Labour's Tirikatene seemed to rely on nostalgia and waffle for the most part. He had a mild panic over an audience question over the halted funding by the National government for the diabetes service. He almost promised that Labour would re-fund the service if elected, before hastily reversing out of any firm commitment to anything.

No, the big winners of the night were the Greens' Dora Langsbury and Mana's Clinton Dearlove. The former, while not Maori, answered more insightfully on the Maori language and training themes due to her work with Te Wananga o Aotearoa. The latter took the gift of the gab award for fluently and passionately outlining what he saw was wrong with the status quo.

It was an added bonus to meet fellow blogger, Maui Street's Morgan Godfrey too. He had rightly sheeted the thrust of the debate down to anger at National's treatment of Maori:

"The [Nats] are shitting on Maori tikanga."

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Irrational Party

Yesterday John Key announced what he was going to buy with the sell-down of the state owned power companies; magic beans. I saw this one coming, oooh, way back in early September:
A partial float is rotten value for the government. OK, so why sell it anyway? The puny sale prices will not go towards paying down structural debt, but is instead earmarked for pork; roads, schools and so on. Stuff that should be already budgeted for in normal government expenditure, but will instead be used to sway marginal constituencies to National's tune.
In other non-news, the focus group wet dream that was the National Party's Opening Address has had the rather clumsy disguise pulled off its face:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The 2011 John Key Animated Gif Awards

Here are the finalists in this year's John Key Animated Gif Awards:

Catwalk Mince:


And finally, Three Way Handshake:

And the GIFFIE goes to... Pokerface!

Warning: Blogger may not like Animated Gifs and barf up, so right click and save the link images for the nominees in case the carrots fly.

UPDATE: Blogger blows chunks on animated gifs, so I sourced the original blog posts they appeared in.

Catwalk Mince by Dan Satherley here at Spare Room.
Pokerface by Unknown at The Dim Post.
Three Way Handshake by Unknown Labourite posted by Grant Robertson at Red Alert.

Roger and me

I had a toke for Roger Kerr at 4:20 today.

I didn't know him that well. I am thankful for the contract work I did for him at the New Zealand Business Roundtable a few years ago, helping out with the Ron Trotter Lectures and data entry. No-one minded I was a stoner, and I had the opportunity to put names to faces, including shaking hands with Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen.

Roger Kerr was a man driven by the genuine desire to improve the common lot of New Zealanders. Not just the suits but everyone.

He might have been born too late to reap the benefits of the paperless society, but the NZBR library still had its gems. Roger gave me a copy one of their papers on how public stadiums are a crock. It was years ahead of the debate over the Eden Park upgrade.

All the best to Catherine and family.

Opening doors and pulling some strings

Artist's impression of John Key during the 2011 Opening Address. Apologies to Gerald Scarfe and Nigel Hawthorne.

If the Opening Addresses and various unfolding battleplans are anything to go by, the Greens have the only elegant formations and thus the higher ground. The Nats are shown as devoid of any imagination. Labour are appealing to their core supporters, reasoning with them not to desert.

Former Labour speechwriter David Slack and MILF-comedian Michelle A'Court are part of the cast of the Green's alternative debate on Monday night. TVNZ might have limited the debate to the two talking heads, but the Greens have re-routed alternatives to The Green Room.

Policies be damned. The tactics are superlative. They might be Morris Dancers, but they're running rings around the competition so far.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vote ALCP to grow the economy

I am very impressed with the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party's election campaign Opening and Closing Addresses. The Opening Address looks at the economic cost of prohibition, the throwing of millions of dollars a year into that bottomless hole of criminal prosecution that Don Brash pointed out:

The Closing Address looks at the economic benefits of Hemp, the non-psychoactive miracle plant that is tarred with the same ignorant brush as its THC-laden twin:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Calling All Nations

I'd give it about a week before the glow of the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup starts to wear off, because shit just got real.

When Don Brash flies off overseas for emergency world finance talks when he's supposed to be fronting Act's election campaign, it really clarifies the priorities. I don't think this is a stunt, but a sign of how serious things are getting on the world scene. All opinions are being sought.'s Top 10 on Friday listed the dimensions of this year's black swan in the room which is causing all the worry; it's a Eurotrash Junk Bond Black Swan, and boy is it high maintenance.

Dagg help us. The Fred one, not the rugby one. Rugby Dagg's no use to us now, if he ever was. Rugby might have started at a public school, but the alumni aren't as interested in rugger so much as the football, cricket or motor sports these days. Or the financial crisis. Witness the home page for the home of public school City Folk, the UK's Telegraph:

Number Four, comme toujours.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Islanded in a stream of stars

Colin James with a likely scenario:
But there is life in the Westphalian state yet, even if it [is] losing feathers, hair, fingernails and much dignity. Population, water, resources and climate pressures might over the next quarter century take us down a dark route of devastating wars, famines, pandemics and climate catastrophes which will make the twentieth century look peaceable by comparison and cut huge swathes through the global population. If so, that is likely to drive people inward, not outward, and harden, at least temporarily, the Westphalian state.
All the multi-lateral institutions put in place after WWII to prevent another global slaughter are crumbling or dust. Bretton Woods carked it back during the Nixon Shock. The World Trade Organisation has died with the Doha Round, while regional trade agreements bashed out behind closed doors favour the pollution of corporate lobbyists.

The European Union, essentially a peace agreement between France and Germany, stumbles on from crisis to crisis as the PIGS face a sovereignty - solvency squeeze. The world's second largest bond market is in Italy, the I of the PIGS. The country is run by a billionaire bunga-bunga addict who owns the national media. There's something rotten in Rome and no-one's smelling it yet.

The United Nations is a big joke. The CIA is arguably the world's largest terrorist organisation, but you'll never see it listed as a terrorist group. The Convention of Narcotic Drugs has been the source of millions of imprisonments and hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. This international law has been ignored by the CIA, as a way to fund operations beyond the power and oversight of its Congress.

The CIA has been adept at ignoring even the most basic precepts of international law, such as the Geneva Conventions. Barbaric treatment of "enemy combatants" has gone mainstream in the last decade thanks to their tutelage. Terms such as waterboarding, place names such as Abu Gharib or Bagram are understood by the Zeitgeist in a way they weren't ten years ago.

Whatever the long dark future holds, it'll be no holds barred. We've all forgotten how truly horrible total war is, so we'll have to learn it all from scratch the hard way. Prepare for fragmentation and the continuing rise of the city state.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Graphic Character Assassination

Grant Buist has an excellent caricature of Bomber Bradbury in this week's Jitterati:

Click image to embiggerate

Nice touch with squeaky clean John Key doing the cut signal. He might be talking cats but the body language is clear.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Off With His Larynx

The spirit of the NZBC circa 1960 lives on as NatRad imposes a lifetime ban on Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury.

I was listening to the wireless last week as Bomber appeared on The Panel, as he read his blog post on his thoughts pummeling John Key's Radio Live marketing stunt. Yes, his rant was polemical. Yes, his characteristic screeches set off my tinnitus. But that's our Bomber.

Whatever problems NatRad had with Bomber's polemic, it seems there was not even a shot over his bow. No temporary sanction, just dialled straight up to "Off With His Larynx".

The other week I had to put up with Graham Bell and his contemptuous "I've Been Thinking" spiel. Sometimes there's Michelle "Bury Me in a Y-Shaped Coffin" Boag on the air, who helicopters in and dumps smugness over all she surveys. Or the milquetoast Brian Edwards, who bemoans his neighbours using water blasters or leaf blowers.

That's the price to pay when you listen to "Our Voice". There's a kaleidoscope of views. It's bad enough that there's the self-censorship of indigenous sweariness, which impinges on a few of The Panel's regulars, especially from the redder end of the guest spectrum. It's one of the handicaps that forbids me from radio airtime. I can't guarantee a G-rated sound bite.

Banning such a prolific Leftie right before an election sounds like something the Nat appointed NatRad Board would lash out with. Was it Dick Griffin decanting poison down the line? Who did Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman meet in the corporate box in the weekend? Or was it the Smiling Assassin who kicked away Bomber's soapbox?

I really doubt we've heard the last of this.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Stone Soup

I've got a Getafix Election 2011 Soup on the back burner while I'm reading. There's still a few ingredients missing and I'm hoping to crowd-source them up. Please put your pot luck in the comments.

Ingredient #1: Around the House of Representatives, there are carvings of various conflicts where New Zealanders died. Over which war did the attempted leaper go over the top?

Ingredient #2: The Diplomatic Protection Squad are not Celebrity Praetorian Guards. John Key's DPS Bill is blowing out as he treats them as Entourage Muscle. Don Brash has at least had stuff hit him. Hell, even the old man took a rotten egg or tomato for Rogernomics. Comes with the job.

But it hints at the Plutocrat Roman flavour of this Key government. Lictors and fasces. Steven Joyce had his Crassus mask slip at a student protest, telling them to keep their heads down lest the Eye of Joyce zaps them down. John Key is the People's Caesar. Who is National's Pompey?

Ingredient #3: Simon Power's enlightening valedictory speech mentioned that Key only turned down one of Power's proposals. What was the policy?

Friday, October 07, 2011

North American Scum

What with the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup in its final frenetic weeks, I've decided to ignore the rugbyhead-athon and have a read of Nicky Hager's Other People's Wars.

There's an internal logic to the book so far that clicks true with my limited knowledge of martial matters. Putting aside Hager's thesis, the Yanks look like sociopathic retards. Barbarians not soldiers.

Anyway, back soon. Enjoy the thugby.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Suck Young Blood

Let's see now. That's 2 SAS dead, one teenage civilian courier dead, three or so death by cops, and something like a dozen dead from police chases. Is this some kind of record for government carnage?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fisking Graham Bell

I had to have a good laugh at Old Police's Graham Bell on NatRad's Panel yesterday. He's so used to juking stats in his old cop job, or juking ratings to prop up his Police 10-7 cop show porn, he doesn't know when to stop.

The excellent David Slack had just related his thoughts on Elizabeth Warren, who nicely encapsulated the "No-one is an Island" thought convincingly:
I hear all this, you know, "Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever."--No!
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.
You built a factory out there--good for you! But I want to be clear.
You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.
You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.
You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.
You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea--God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.
But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
After such wisdom, Graham Bell was a refreshing sorbet of deceitful ignorance. He was incensed that Don Brash had dare give such credence to those stoners seeking drug reform:
"Speaking of legal and political frameworks, Don Brash and his comments about cannabis, his musings on cannabis... Now, the real effect of these is that we've got the all the [sic] usual suspects like Fowlie and Dakta Green and all these other half-wits coming out of the woodwork to screech about cannabis law reform. Green's ridiculous bus (pictured below outside Parliament) was running up and down Queen Street with a loudhailer and a horn, on the back of Dr Brash's comments. "

The only reason why anyone heard anything about Dakta Green this week was because the police have dragged him out of Mt Eden Correctional Facility to the Auckland High Court to try and get him locked up a lot longer. No Right Turn has the gory on that story. Brash's comments were fortunate timing, nothing more.

Bell splutters on with inarticulate outrage. He hunches and theorises what might have given Brash the wherewithal to spout such stuff. Probably "victim" to some "cannabis lobby people". Not police mouth and wormtongue Greg O'Connor.

But then Bell has a punch at statistics, and this is where the greasy brotherhood of cops shows its stain. Because as all cops know, facts are flexible. They can be edited and re-arranged to prove criminal intent the way any reality TV editor can make even the most mundane act loaded with portent. Planting evidence? No worries. Lying under oath? For Queen and Country, maaaate.
"They quote these statistics that have no empirical worth. Like, an estimated 400,000 people are using cannabis each year. Now there are no actual statistics to back up that claim. The Health Department (hasn't been called that for a long time, old man) did a- a study where they interviewed a whole lot of people and one in seven of those surveyed reported having used or tried cannabis at some stage, but doesn't say that there are people out there smoking cannabis every week and the numbers are 400,000, that's a ridiculous assertion."
 The 400,000 figure is based on that fairly comprehensive survey quoted in the Law Commission's Controlling and Regulating Drugs report:

The footnote explains how they got 385,000:

1,000 people is considered the minimum for statistical significance. 6,500 people is very statistically significant. That's that's not just a whole lot of people, that's a shitload.

Graham Bell must have big problems with the Department of Statistics, because interviewing random samples and extrapolating from there is pretty much what they do. Of course, the police do not treat statistics with the same respect. The Masterton Police Child Abuse Cover Up is the most obvious example of this juking of the stats.

Stats are a best guess. No-one really knows how many people used cannabis last year, let alone last week. It's the same reason as nobody really knows how many LGBT New Zealanders there are. Estimates vary between five and ten percent of the population. It's same reason as we don't know how many drunk cops beat their partners in the last year, because all the evidence we have to go off are police convictions.

So, 385,000 in 2006 is the best guess available. Factor in population growth  to 2011, and there's an estimated 400,000 people who tried cannabis in the last year.

Most of New Zealand supports a change in the cannabis laws. Whatever we may think of our cannabis toting friends and relatives, very few believe we should lock them up. The murder of Liam Ashley put the sternest parents off that idea. The drug treatment groups are behind reform. The experts are behind reform (although they won't go on the record because their careers will be ruined e.g. Don Brash). Every poll that the MSM ask comes back with majority support for reform.

It is a good sign to hear Graham Bell being so defensive on cannabis law reform. It's a sign that the bullies might not get to pick on the hippy kids forever.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Karma Police

Busted Blonde points out that Taupo police arrested a South African journalist as a suspected drug dealer:
Ngobeni, an employee of Pretoria News and rugby analyst for the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC), was the only black person in the pub at the time, said a Sapa journalist travelling with him.

Ngobeni was taken to a police station and searched. He had to remove items of clothing.
Stupid shit like this comes at a high price of tourism and reputation. The weird bouncer with the high moral stance who leaked video surveillance of holidaying Brits was bad enough. What goes on in NZ, stays in NZ. But here's the police abusing the Misuse of Drugs Act's search and arrest powers to hassle foreign correspondents.

Luckily for Ngobeni, he had sufficient credentials to get him out of trouble. I know other foreign nationals who haven't been so fortunate. It goes to shows those VRWC types though. Not all people arrested on drugs charges are guilty. Sometimes it's just a case of "we don't like the look of your type around here" hassling.

I can't wait til NZ Customs sic the drug dogs on a visiting head of state.

Nutt Blakemore Drug Harm Index

Here is a vid I put together today on the Nutt Blakemore Harm Index:

The NZ Law Commission and the Nutt Blakemore Drug Harm Index from Will de Cleene on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I've Been Smoking

I've got to give it to Don Brash. For an unadventurous man, he was pretty brave supporting the decrim of cannabis this morning. Yeah, this is old school Act policy. Richard Prebble backed decrim, as did Rodney Hide. Still, when you're running a lobotomised pitbull like John Banks in Epsom, it's a brave stance.

As a reward, here's a bit of advice for Don Brash. Cannabis is not his thing. If he's serious about making up with Je Lan, I recommend they both drop MDMA. It's like a marriage counsellor in a pill.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Act party completes conversion to nihilism

John Boscawen in walking out of the Act party. Seeing as he got into Act on the back of his Electoral Finance Bill protests, this does not bode well for next week's many votes in parliament.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Territorial Pissings

National has released the emergency urgency bill they are hoping to jump the pre-election shark, courtesy of Labour's Red Alert. It's pretty much as the Maori Party's Flavell said last week, making the illegal legal. Carte blanche for police video surveillance on private land.

It's nice to know all the parties are paying attention to this sort of stuff. Even Boscawen is only swearing to a first reading. A chocolate fish to Patrick Gower for telling Labour to harden the fuck up.

Happy 20th Nevermind:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mako Polo

For a party that sells itself as a law and order party, National sure treats the law as a mutable ball of Play Doh. They have stretched and pulled at it constantly this last term with constant urgency motions, smudging the lawbooks in crayons unmoderated by the select committee process. And now, National is proposing emergency retrospective urgency to contradict the highest court in the land.

National is preparing to jump the Foreshore & Seabed shark in a penguin suit. Will they have the momentum of numbers to make it over the mako tank? Peter Dunne will plank for anyone, but the Maori Party won't put out. Will law and order hypocrites the Act party plank for the penguin? Just remember what happened to the last sand-eating penguin.

Would any concerned MP like to ask John Key during Question Time what variety of "very serious criminals" he is referring to? I'm quite sure there's some very nice criminals mixed in that clump of police perving as well. Gardeners, florists and so forth.

UPDATE: Dean Knight covers the issue very well.
UPDATE 2: Andrew Geddis is going for it here. Maui Street has a say and linkage to other reactions.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Justice Rant 2.0

One of my most valued possessions is an original Hansard of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The staples are a bit rusty, but it doesn't take much to hold what is essentially two pieces of yellowing A4 paper with words on it together.

This gossamer document is Joe Bloggs and Aroha Hapuka's only plain New Zilind armour to defend them against the full weight of the state machinery. You are free to come and go. You are free to choose your Tao, even ones not listed in the Department of Statistics little religion boxes. You are free from unreasonable search and seizure. You have a right to a trial by one's peers if the state threatens to lock you up.

It only takes a simple majority in Parliament to rip those words asunder. There is no love lost between me and the cold dark blue heart of this National government and its idea of justice. The right to silence is safe, for now. Simon Power couldn't muster more than a bare majority for that erosion of BoRA, relying on three kamikaze Act MPs tempted to cross the floor.

My heart has hardened to the Labour Party after they supported Simon Power's substantive changes in the Criminal Procedures Reform Bill, raising the jury threshold from three months to two years. The stench of Helen Clark remains on them with last Labour's government eroding BoRA their own way, with the Criminal Recovery Act fiddling with double jeopardy and unreasonable search and seizure. Then there was the daft and dangerous Electoral Finance Act that throttled the freedom of expression during the last election.

I'm not relying on the next Labour caucus to protect the citizens of this country from National when the re-write of the Search and Surveillance Bill is introduced to parliament properly. John Pagani thinks Greg O'Connor is spot on with his stance that police should be above the law:
Too many people have been far too quick ignore the seriousness of what's at stake here. Just imagine if the variety of ethnic nationalism at issue was the type preached by the Norwegian monster.
Pagani sounds like he disagreed with the Norwegian  political response, which was that they weren't going to over-react and curtail civil freedoms due to a single fanatical nutjob.  Pagani is pointedly disagreeing with the majority decision of the Supreme Court as well. Witness the arsenal at hand:
The Crown have listed the guns which they allege the group had. They include a sawn off shot gun, a Lee Enfield .303, a rifle, a sawn off rifle and four other rifles.
My old man would have still outgunned them. Former part-time Army guy Jan Molenaar could have outgunned them. There's no doubt that the resources available to the police would have outgunned them. The town of Ruatoki got a taste of force multipliers available to the police a few years ago, with not so much as an apology pending.

But that's getting a bit too close to sub judice right now. I'll wait until next year's trial to dig into that further.

Pagani agrees with O'Connor that their illegal practices of video surveillance should be made legal. The argument this tilts on is fundamental to human rights. O'Connor spilled it on Checkpoint last night:
"We always believed that if it wasn't illegal, if it was for a normal member of the public, if something's not illegal, you're essentially allowed to do it."
Police are not normal members of the public. They are state servants. They are armed with a formidable range of tools well beyond the reach of a normal member of the public. No normal member of the public can harass someone quite so comprehensively as the police. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act is the public's only protection from this brotherhood of cops.

Greg O'Connor would be a happy man if BoRA was repealed tomorrow. His men could follow their gut instincts, fantasies and grudges with impunity, without the restraint of reason or balance of natural justice. Both of the main political parties are happy to dismantle the Bill of Rights Act, one word at a time. So, it's good to have a Supreme Court that can balance out the scales of justice a little.

No normal member of the public has such voluble PR or political access as police mouth Greg O'Connor. No-one challenges him when he spouts rubbish, such as that Checkpoint interview when he sez that the video surveillance decision will affect rape and murder inquiries. Most surveillance is on alleged crime conspiracies such as unarmed dope growers or wingnut circus militias on private land in the wop wops. Mainly the former.

Only the police can sex up a cannabis raid as seizing "$10 million worth of tinnies" and skite about how much property they have stolen with a straight face. I know people who have had their banks accounts trawled and personal belongings seized as arrest warrants are served for cannabis offences. It's a shakedown, plain a simple.

Only the police would argue to change the law to suit their illegal habits, yet stymie any de-escalation in the War on Drugs. If only the police are given more tools! more tools! then they will win this destructive civil war on our people. Somehow, the police will manage to arrest the 400,000 New Zealanders who used cannabis last year. Somehow, the nation's treatment services will get all these reasonable, rational members of the public to forsake cannabis and convert to more mainstream therapies such as alcohol, rugby or Jesus.

Thank Dagg for the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The rats from National and Labour might gnaw away at it, but these two pieces of paper still protect me from the vanilla people and their narrow diet. Whatever my thoughts on Tame Iti's Flightless Circus, I thank them for the precedent that will make the police think twice before perving on their eccentric neighbours.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pretty Vacant

Dim Post points to Russell Brown's photo from last night's Auckland fan zone. This was shot this evening in Wellington's fan zone on the waterfront before the Russia US game:

By the start of the game, a dozen or so people had turned up, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Godmother

It is 4am in the morning at Sir Peter Jackson's house in Miramar. The phone rings. Sir Peter picks up the phone.

"You owe the Godmother a favour," the voice says. "Be ready to receive the Godmother at your studio in one hour."

Sir Peter is standing by the elevator door as the lift descends to the production floor. Two figures in trenchcoats and fedoras carry a stretcher out of the lift past Sir Peter. Helen Clark steps out and walks to Sir Peter.

"Are you ready to do me a service?" says Clark.

"Certainly, Godmother. How can I be of service?" says Sir Peter.

They walk over to the table where the stretcher has been placed.

"I want you to use all of your powers and all of your skills..." says Clark. She pulls back the blanket to reveal a badly mangled penguin.

"I don't want the public to see him this way. I want you to stuff this penguin and make it presentable for public viewing." she says.

"The damage is immense," says Sir Peter, inspecting the corpse. "This is a gunshot wound, not bite marks."

The Godmother stares icily at one of her minions. "We were only meant to stun and recapture him once the DoC crew had departed. Chris Carter mistook the shark gun for the tranq gun though and blew half of Happy Feet's torso away. Can you... fix him?" says Clark.

"It will be done, Godmother." says Sir Peter. "You want to give him a proper funeral?"

"No, I want you to stuff him with as much animitronics as you can. I want him to replace Phil Goff as Labour Party leader after the election."

The Loudest Guys in the Room

In most cultures, guests are honoured not abused. National party culture is not one of them. John Key and his chums come across as boorish hosts. John Key thought it a lark to dress the Pacific Forum members in All Black jerseys. Julia Gillard tired of Key's incessant Wallaby bashing. Then there's accusations of jingoistic rugby banter going one toke over the line in a corporate box.

But as far as boorish hosts hijacking parties goes, you can't go past the first King of Queen's Wharf, Murray McCully. At least King Gerry the First got given his unbridled power after an earthquake or two. King Murray got his just because he can.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peter Dunne and the smoking gun

A couple of days ago, Associate Minister of Health and new Drug Czar Peter Dunne released the government's response to the Law Commission's Controlling and Regulating Drugs Report, the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. His written statement noted:
“It is the Government’s view that is not its role to initiate clinical trials on cannabis leaf or any other product or substance."

The National Drug Policy, first instituted in 1998 under the last National government, has this to say on drug research funding:
2.5 National Drug Policy Discretionary Fund

The National Drug Policy Discretionary Grant Fund (NDPDGF), established in 2004, provides government ministers involved with drug policy with access to a pool of funding for new initiatives or projects that fill gaps in drug policy work. The NDPDGF will continue to fund:
  • High-quality cross-departmental projects that support the advancement of the National Drug Policy
  • Projects that fill a gap which would otherwise remain unfilled due to not meeting a particular agency’s funding criteria
  • Projects that allow for forward planning and fast response by government agencies to changes in current and emerging drug trends.

The fund is jointly managed by the IACD and MCDP.

The NDPDGF has funded research into benzylpiperazine (BZP), a substance for which there was little knowledge world wide. It is expected that the NDPDGF will continue to be a source of funding for cutting-edge research and interim support for innovative approaches to drug issues.
It's not that the government doesn't fund drug research. It just wants to avoid any inconvenient truths on it's faith-based crusade of drug prohibition.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Working for the big cheese

The people in Whangarei are safe from the mortal dangers of fake adidas goods. I just hope I don't have to shut down the 2012 goNZo Freakpower Summer Collection. I've got dozens of black singlets ready to roll off the Pook Farm presses...

The mouse who drives the small tractor over the singlets might have to be let go.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

4:20 News - Paper Planes Edition

Back Benches was deserted last night. Wallace and Damian were stuck with safe MPs who were trusted by their respective whips enough not to say anything interesting and/or controversial, as well as a hollow audience to bounce off. The pub was empty because Parliament was a hive of activity right last night. Parliament rises in barely a month, and the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup will provide a distraction for a flood of paperwork.

Peter Dunne has released the government's response to the Law Commission's Misuse of Drugs Act review. A complete re-write of the Misuse of Drugs Act will be on the cards after the election, but not in a good way:
“The current Act was developed nearly 40 years ago at a time when drugs and their use were very different than they are today and the argument for a substantive update is clear and compelling

Mr Dunne said it is unlikely that all the Law Commission’s recommendations would find their way into Government policy or law.

“Officials are evaluating all the recommendations and will advise the next government on how best to incorporate some of the key into a new Act to be considered by the incoming Parliament,” he said.

Among the more controversial Law Commission recommendations in its May report was that clinical trials be conducted into the medical use of leaf cannabis.

“We are not going with that recommendation. It is the Government’s view that is not its role to initiate clinical trials on cannabis leaf or any other product or substance.

“If the active ingredient of cannabis is seen as essential or beneficial for pain relief there are already pharmaceutical forms of it available that provide measured doses and quality control,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that the Law Commission’s recommendations that specialist drug courts be established was being progressed separately by Justice Minister Simon Power.
Dunne is saying that it's not the government's job to base their conclusions upon evidence. The last patch-up job to the MoDA earlier this year (the Kronic ban, characterised by a complete absence of evidence) already gave Peter Dunne the power of Drug Czar. Dunne is able to ban substances with a wave of a Gazette and an order in Council motion. No need for EACD advice, select committee scrutiny or moral hazard. Dunne is judge, jury and censor.

It comes the same day that police around the country executed 300 search warrants, arresting 301 people, mainly for cannabis. No Right Turn sums it up: Madness. This must be about the fifteenth or sixteenth "cornerstone of the cannabis industry" the police have knocked off. How many cornerstones are there?

Meantime, a drug mule dies after trying to import half a kilo of cocaine into the country. Prohibition is literally killing people in this country. The lucrative profits that are bestowed on these drugs is solely because of their illegality.

Massey University's annual Dope Fiend survey has been released by SHORE. The Herald notes that Ecstacy use is up and price is down. Not in the Herald story but in the survey, cannabis remains easy or very easy to procure. The price is stable at an inflation-resistant $20 a tinnie, $300 an ounce.

The Forty Years Civil War goes on...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Justice Rant

The firearms charges against many of Tame Iti's Flightless Circus have been dropped. Just a handful of charges remain, mainly for aggressive performance art. Justice delayed is justice denied and if you can't beat the system, stalemate it.

The rumble of thunder going through the blogosphere and elsewhere over the Cunningham decision to not impede a certain comedian's career in canned laughter continues. One of the latter examples is No Right Turn comparing the obiter dicta of two sentences and their very different punchlines.

Not wanting to demean the situation, but I know people who are in prison right now for sharing flowers amongst consenting adults. Surely their so-called crimes are less despicable than pissed stand-ups going down on forbidden fruit.

One of those people in prison is Dakta Green, who is experiencing the Private Prison system first hand; the Serco Circus Experience as it is known. In some ways, the prison reflects the justice system, in that it is increasingly user pays.

May the most expensive lawyer win. Good luck to everyone else stuck with Public Defender Lotto. In the unlikely event that the wealthy lose their case and are actually sent to prison, conveniences such as in-cell widescreen TVs can be had for a fee. If you're too poor to buy the services, hopefully you'll double-bunk with a former finance company director.

In other Justice News, Medical cannabis campaigner Billy Mckee's next court hearing was unexpectedly postponed. Billy only found out on Monday through his lawyer that his day in Levin court wasn't todasy as planned, but now scheduled for October 12th.

It usually isn't the defendant who holds up things in court proceedings, as VRWC bloggers have argued. It wasn't the Defence that paused Billy's path through the justice system's large intestine. It was either a court or prosecution hold-up. Maryjane the Cannabus was planning to drive down in support Billy, and suddenly all this is put screaming to a halt due to the fickle court system.

The weight and complexity of the Crown can take almost all the time it wants to persecute their target, with resources far beyond the muster of the regular citizen. It is the defendant who is more out of pocket when they are called up, postponed and generally given the run-around while the bureaucracy sharpens its knives.

There is too much cash and bling skewing the scales of justice. Guilt and innocence are increasingly being determined by the ability to pay. Scale and proportion are out of kilter. Ethics don't even some into the equation any more. That principle died the same way as reasonable doubt and universal suffrage. Strangled by a government which is also eyeing up removing the right to silence, the right to a trial by peers not lords.

Wanna hear a joke? New Zealand's Justice System.

Jobs Machine

The latest Ministry of Truth figures are out on teen unemployment. Good news, everybody! Benefit numbers are at a two year low!

With less than a week before the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup kicks off, you'd presume that there would be a need for cheap casual labour somewhere. Sure enough, they're all working for minimum wage (or less) at the understaffed and under-prepared novelty Wynard Quarter.

Wait til after Xmas and see how the figures look then. Ah, but Chris Trotter's ear for wit has beaten me to the punchline.