Sunday, 1 December 2019

The Tragedy of Privatisation by Brian Easton

  I often find people characterising Rogernomics and the neoliberal economics of the late 1980s and early 1990s as ‘privatisation’; that is, the sale of state owned enterprises (SOEs) to the private sector.

 Yet, there may be better candidates to symbolise the policies of the time, including:  
  • the opening up New Zealand to the world economy by the removal of border and related protections and subsidies;
  • commercialisation; that is changing the way that the economy and the state sector were managed by giving priority to business principles;
  • the light-handed regulation of business which has led to sizeable inefficiencies. The cost of ‘leaky buildings’ may be as high as $47b alone and people have died.
  • the attempted ‘Americanization’ of the public health system driven by ideological stupidity and again resulting in deaths and unnecessary health discomfort;
  • the tax and benefit cuts which sharply increased inequality.
So why does so much of the public concerns focus on privatisation?  Perhaps it was because of the lying.  Read more from Pundit.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

"They Travel with Shadows"

Morgan Godfery gained a whole new appreciation for what it means to be a Māori politician when he sat down with six of them for RNZ’s Matangireia series.

After almost 10 years in and around media and politics, I’m not sure that I could ever encourage anyone to become an MP.
Yeah, the status is no doubt appealing, and using that mana to help people in need is an objective good. The money seems nice, too. But the work is punishing and, more often than not, thankless.

Read more from e Tangata

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Lithium Ion Battery "Breakthrough" by Taupō Company

A Taupō company has made a breakthrough in extracting near battery-grade lithium from geothermal fluid which its says could be a gamechanger.

Geo40 chief executive John Worth said the earth mineral was highly prized, with battery-grade lithium selling for US$10,000 (NZ$15,600) a tonne.

Lithium, normally mined from hard rock, is used to produce lithium ion batteries, the technology that underpins electric vehicles. The batteries could one day be the answer to storing wind and solar power, he said.

Read more

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Left/Right Tribalism Shapes People's Views on Climate Change

 "With emissions still rising, climate geo-engineering is a topic we need to debate. But political researchers fear people are falling into the same left/right tribalism that has long plagued climate politics.

"Although worsening fires, droughts, diseases and floods will affect people of all political persuasions, studies have repeatedly shown that a sizeable chunk of the population uses their politics as a proxy when deciding whether to trust the scientific evidence on climate......."  Read more

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Bougainville Referendum on Independence Starts Today

 The Pacific people of Bougainville today began voting in a historic referendum to decide if they want to become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from
Papua New Guinea.
The referendum runs over two weeks and is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a brutal civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the east of the Papua New Guinea mainland.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Comprehensive Damning NFP Comments on Fiji Government

This is a damning commentary on the FijiFirst Government. I am not in a position to assess its validity, having been out of Fiji too long.  I publish it in good faith in the spirit of a free media. -- Croz
Response to H.E.’s Speech
Parliament of Fiji
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
By NFP MP Hon Lenora Qereqeretabua

Mr Speaker Sir, protocol dictates that we thank His Excellency for his most gracious speech. But I lament the fact that His Excellency’s image as a symbol of national unity has been shattered by Government’s spin doctors who compelled him to outline falsehoods and fabrications to camouflage the colossal failures of this government.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Keeping National Honest on Climate Change

Ignoring the science and the broader public mood, National continues to take its 'do-nothing, know-nothing' lead from powerful party members desperately clinging to deeply vested interests in a high emissions economy, writes Rod Oram in Newsroom.

Judith Collins' recent Facebook post about climate change is a classic of its kind.  She asserts climate change is not nearly as serious as “media and the political left” say it is; we and other nations are incapable of sufficiently cutting emissions anyway; and she blames everyone else for this mess while accepting no responsibility of her own, either political or personal.

Her post also reveals much about the state of the climate debate within the National Party. It has attracted some 1,100 comments so far. The strong majority of them urge her on, a sign to National there are votes to be had from holding out against action on the climate crisis.

One sign of National’s enthusiasm is its reluctance to distance itself from Collins’ comments.

Click here to read more. 

Monday, 21 October 2019

Fiji: Opposition Compliments FijiFirst Government

Tui Namosi  pn527
The government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Commission operates six radio stations, two in each of the three major languages, i-Taukei, Hindustani and English, and a free to air television service. The potential for media political bias is immense.

That's  not to say that the  Fiji Broadcasting Commission is slanting the news because its CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the brother of the Attorney-General and it four-member  board is government appointed. It's just that it could be. There are no independent checks on what it broadcasts — and appearances matter.

Fiji broadcasting has always been state-owned but the potential for bias, and suspicion of bias,  is greater today because of the nation's highly polarised political situatation.  I would certainly be more confident of its news if it had wider board membership.  Having said that, bias is more likely to be evident by not publishing news and less evident in the news published.  The two items to follow are certainly pro-government, but there's no reason to suspect their validity.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Let's Get Some Reality into Political Polls

The hoo-ha about the latest Colmer-Brunton and Newshub polls shows either that media commentators need to take a course in STATS101 and brush up on what can —and what cannot— be deduced from a poll, or that they need to be taken to task for deliberately misleading the public to sell copy, please advertisers, and put their spokes into the political process in favour of National.

One might expect such shortcomings from Opposition leader Simon Bridges ("What this shows is a government that isn't doing anything, that doesn't know what it's doing..") and the likes of Mike Hosking ("They  [Labour] are a mess. lots of noise, not a lot of action...NZ decides they are not up to it")  but not from an informed, balanced (and it has to be said privately-owned!) media whose  misleading dramatic headlines read:

Friday, 18 October 2019

The Media in NZ Politics

What's happening in NZ politics? Hardly had Labour's sex scandal blown over (a young party staffer apparently made unwanted sexual overtures to young female party members)  than Labour's coalition partner NZ First's  Clayton Mitchell was thrown out of a Tauranga night club for supposed drunken behaviour (He denies it; claiming political motivation) and Shane Jones was seen using a now-illegal-in-NZ assault rifle while holidaying in Thailand.  Three bad strikes against the Government parties. 

Fortunately, we have a clean party in National. Its staffers are no longer young, its MPs sip alcohol in moderation, and they only use guns for "grouse" shooting.

National's worst action/in-action last week was refusing the Speaker's request to remove  parliamentary footage  from its Facebook page. UPDATE. National to remove videos. While this resulted in National being allowed less parliamentary question time, thus allowing Government more  time to get on with the job of governing, the relief will probably be short lived. Even now, in-depth (up to their knees in bull) journalists are sniffing around for more trivial news to demean and distract.  And leave us less than well informed about the important issues facing the country.

-- ACW

Pacific Roundup, Palau, Marshall Is., Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Is., PNG

 Palau and Marshall Islands

The US is revisiting its compact of free association with Palau and Marshall Islands. The US will invest $1.6 million to investigate water quality on Enewetak Atoll for radioactivity.
Enewetak nuclear explosion.     pn524
 Nuclear testing by the US totaling more than 30 megatons of TNT took place during the cold war; in 1977–1980, a concrete dome (the Runit Dome) was built on Runit Island to deposit radioactive soil and debris. The Runit Dome is deteriorating and could be breached by a typhoon, though the sediments in the lagoon are even more radioactive than those which are contained. -- Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Fiji: Rift within SODELPA, Free Health Screening, and the Completion of Village profiling

One thing that won't hurt FijiFirst at the next election is this major rift within SODELPA. How often has a political party been taken to court by its own members?
"A group led by the party’s Suva constituency president Watisoni Nata has taken Social Democratic Liberal Party president Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Anare Jale, Adi Litia Qionibaravi and Usaia Waqatairewa to court.