The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

it's as if 2002 never happened

in the detail of the Herald poll today i see they have lumped the Progressives and the Alliance together. (i only noticed because i was stunned to see us polling at all)

why don't they lump Labour and Act together too? or the Greens and the Progs and the Alliance?

i just despair when the major daily of our biggest city makes these kinds of mistakes.

*bumps head against wall repeatedly*

Monday, September 27, 2004

is any election better than no election at all?

(this is not a loaded question)

further to this

if you were installing democracy in a country, where there were peace "issues" in some areas which might stop elections from being held in those parts, how much of the population would need to be able to vote freely and fairly for you to be satisfied that it was democratic enough?

bit long winded, but you get the idea.

what percentage constitues free and fair? or - what percentage doesn't?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

the n word

ok, the other n word, just to clarify: nuclear

just watched the TV3 20/20 bizzo on the need to go nuclear to avoid global warming. as the Man Sitting On The Comfy Chair said, it was almost grounds for a BSA complaint.

there was one person interviewed who was opposed (Rod Donald, either not in good form or edited to look that way) and FOUR who were in favour.

there was next to no discussion of a serious attempt to stop using so much power. in fact one of those in favour of turning NZ into Little Springfield said that the current estimates about our future power needs were based on low economic growth - interesting that those on the right say that our economy is in good shape when they need it to be to justify creating waste that is deadly for thousands of years.

and there were some interesting figures about the switch to hydrogen engines for transport meaning we will need three-quarters more electricity (more than what i hear you ask - more than the total amount we use now? or more than the total amount used to run cars and transport now? TV3 wasn't all that interested in making this clear). no mention of the huge impact that emissions from petrol powered engines has on the climate, or that the shift to hydrogen engines would see this basically eliminated.

they had the guy from Environment Canterbury who put up the original motion about investigating nuclear power talking about how he was glad it had started a debate. If this was TV3's contribution to a fair and informed debate then they should be ashamed.

Update: Greyshade has a much more informed post on this than me - go read it :-)

the perfect vanity plate for brian tamaki

spotted last night just up the road at the best little fish n chip shop ever


even worse than i thought

Over at No Right Turn, I/S has a pretty damn scary map of the fighting in Iraq.

this raises a very serious question - how on earth are there going to be "free and fair" elections in January 2005??? there's only October, November and December between now and January. and that's a whole heap of trouble that is not going to make Iraq's first go at real democracy in a very long time (ever?) any easier.

i see the Bush administration has started preparing the ground for elections in "three-quarters" or "four-fifths" of Iraq. that picture shows the reality is more the reverse - they'll be lucky if peace is secure enough to hold a vote in a quarter or a fifth unless there is a major change.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

they're listening

according to my friend Q, cats have very very sensitive hearing. they think we are big, clumsy, furless, loud humans and they are small, furry, dainty, graceful, beautiful (etc) humans. and their hearing is so good that they can hear cars coming from miles away (which is how they know you're on your way) and they can hear the electricity in the walls!

well he heard it on the BBC so it must be true.

(this is really just another excuse for a picture of mara. everybody say awwwwwww)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

my 2c on the local bods

everyone who has a political blog knows who they are going to vote for in any given election anyway, but here goes...

surprise surprise - vote LEFT - for those in my neck of the woods, Auckland City, this means voting for City Vision for Council, Community Boards and Regional Council, and give the City Vision Health candidates rankings 1 - 5 for DHB. pretty easy really.

as for the mayoralty - well i reluctantly ticked Hubbard. two reasons: 1) he's the only candidate who can beat Banks. 2) he's probably going to go with whoever gets the majority on council, so could work with City Vision. If Banks wins again and there is a left majority i suspect the council will be quite dysfunctional.

It all underlines how important it is to change the majority on Council, not just the mayor - i'm sure there are other cities where this is the case too. There is so much concentration on the mayoralty race, but in fact the balance of power is just as crucial. This is the first time i've really been involved in local body stuff (although i did a bit for McCarten's bid for the mayoralty last time) and i find it near impossible to get any sense for how things are going. I've found the sheer money that the right has intimidating and galling - Banks hasn't sloshed much around, but CRN and their mates are everywhere with glossy leaflets, colour billboards with pictures, and full page Herald ads, not to mention the supplement the EMA et al funded last week. I found their leaflet confusing though - the way the people were divvied up amongst the folds and where the headings were put made it difficult to read. They must be worried about David Hay getting the ARC though - they are really pushing him now, all of a sudden.

oh and if you're in the Roskill Ward - there's a nice young man called Michael Wood who's running for the Community Board on the City Vision ticket - he's really a rather good guy, despite being in Labour, and i rate him quite highly ;-)

not witty but accurate

well on the drive to work today i see one of the Citizens and Ratepayers Now signs has been defaced with DEVELOPERS in red spray paint. actually it's on the Vote David Hay for ARC bit that's been tacked on the bottom (the CRN signs are in dark blue, so quite hard to deface). I noticed as i drove home tonight that the other side is sprayed with BIG BUSINESS.

there's certainly no denying that CRN has strong links to business - and we aren't talking about SMEs here, for the most part. it takes serious money to buy full page ads in the Herald, and an even bigger pot of dosh to create the pro-roads "supplement" from last week.

and as for the developers angle - well there's a CRN sign up on the Keith Hay Homes vacant section in Lynfield. enough said really.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

popcorn protesting

theme music: oh you pretty things - bowie

DPF has blogged about the picket by Reading cinema workers over the weekend. there's more about it and some pics on indymedia too.

i'm stoked this has gone so well - the organiser involved is a good friend of mine, hard working, and these are mainly young workers experiencing unionism for the first time. the company has given them a large serving of arse, with a "negotiator" who wasn't given a mandate to settle, withdrawing (crap) offers he has made to the workers from head office in Australia.

one of the big beefs for the workers at Reading is the continuation of youth rates there. the work is identical, for those above 18 and those below, yet there is a big difference in wage.

and the reason for the popcorn? Reading makes a huge profit off the candy bar, as anyone who goes to any cinema will know ($4 for a bag of popcorn!), and their workers decided to hit them where it hurts.

congrats to these workers - you did a fab job of organising yourselves and i hope the company comes back to the table with a decent offer.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

something strange happened on the way to work...

theme music: road rage - catatonia

so typically auckland really - you let someone in on a busy arterial route (Sandringham Rd) and then the person behind you gets out of their car when you are stopped at the next set of traffic lights, come over and opens your car door, yells at you, then slams it back in your face.

it may have been my bumper stickers that tipped him over the edge, but clearly he wasn't having a very good day (and it was only 8.30am).

really very classy. and not at all threatening (not). bet it wouldn't have happened if i'd been a big bloke though.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

odd (local) bods

hope he didn't get frostbite...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

end of an era

back in a previous incarnation i helped to organise student marriages. not designed to be death do us part, these unions of convenience took advantage of a loophole in the student allowances legislation, to avoid parental means testing for the under 25. if you were married your spouse's means were tested instead, and if you were both students you were basically bound to qualify for an allowance.

and i see that the Govt is now moving to end this - those students who are under 25 and married will now be tested on parental income, just like their single friends.

while this does end the discrimination on the basis of sexuality inherent in the old marriage scheme, it is kind of sad to see it go. (i did wonder how it would operate under the Civil Unions legislation) of course i wouldn't be sad at all if it was going because they were bringing in a universal student allowance like they ought to...

it just shows again how ridiculous the 25 age limit is - how many students, or young people in general, are really still reliant on their parents at that age? and how many parents want to still support their kids once they are over 20?? i was pretty late moving out of home, but even i was out of the fold by 22 and supporting myself (without an allowance).

i think of all those couples i brought together - i was witness at the wedding of one friend (mr red), whose wife had a long term relationship with another of our friends, then cheated on him with the wife of a third friend. of course they're all divorced now. que sera sera.

what about the pregnant ones?

in their wisdom a German employer has decided to make saleswomen keep strictly to timetabled toilet breaks. of course women with their periods get an out from this - the only catch is they have to wear headbands indicating their status...

kind of reminds me of the old testament.

thanks to E for the heads-up on this (no not the instigator of the Fletcher E rash, she has a good alibi, she's on the other side of the world).

jumping the gun

i noticed today that a post implying that the workers at Hubbards were going to strike has disappeared from a certain other blog. this might be to do with the fact that instead of going on strike the workers concerned actually voted to ratify their new collective agreement. almost the opposite of striking in fact.

i find it interesting that some on the right think that every time workers stop work to meet they must be talking about striking. i'd be surprised if more than 1% of union meetings were actually about taking industrial action - there are just so many other things to talk about, and in fact workers (generally) don't like to strike!

Monday, September 13, 2004

choice not compulsion?

driving to my niece's dance concert tonight i noticed a new poster in the window of the National party office on Pitt St: Choice not compulsion.

i was wondering about the "choice" for the under-16 yo girl who's parents have been notified she is intending to have an abortion.

where is the "choice" for her, or for her health professional?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

a lovely welcome home

well after a weekend away it's always nice to come home to something positive - and today it was news that The Office Xmas Special will FINALLY be screened! yay!

Friday Sept 24th, tv1, 8.40pm.

for some reason they have split it into two parts, which i suppose prolongs the strangely enjoyable agony.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

witty billboard alterations #1

spotted tonight on Dominion Rd, just down the hill from George St.

and no it wasn't me. honest.

well if the World Bank says it...

Apparently NZ rates top of a survey of 145 countries for "ease of doing business". The World Bank rated countries based on regulatory climate and flexible labour laws, amongst other factors. Guess that means this Government is doing enough for business. And yet it continues to campaign for the votes of a business community that is never going to vote for them, never going to be nice to them, ahead of its core supporters...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

weird wedding related spam

i'm sure Alparslan won't mind me posting this here. this definitely qualifies as the strangest spam i have ever received (and no hotmail's filter didn't catch it):

Dear Friends/My name is Alparslan nick name is kiwifish!My living
cityyalova atto turkey! Friends Help me please to made!wedding very urgent
anbeatiful newzealand girl I want to me is help please to find! I am
a seaman! Iam a girl friend wanted is your paradise countryat to find!I am very
love newzealand girls! Friend to turkey Anzacwolf my old is 38

Alparslan KobuzoÄŸlu Pasific Roses!Call me
please! if sky page;Seas mürekkep;trys pencil olsa you olan
loves not to speaks!

Monday, September 06, 2004

a strange rash

spotted in manukau city yesterday. mostly stuck to road signs but also stuck to local body candidates' signs, regardless of denomination.

basically these signs will mean nothing to the vast majority of NZers. If it hadn't been for my run in with the BCIRers at a public meeting a month or so ago it would mean nothing to me.

what worries me about these signs is that they have stuck them on election ones - basically garnering for themselves fake endorsements. to date i've seen them on signs for Manukau Vision, Citizens and Ratepayers Now, Dick Quax, Bill Burrill, and others. how is it "real democracy" to misrepresent the position of these people and tickets? and to misrepresent the support that BCIR has?

*BCIR is Binding Citizens' Initiated Referenda

can you read this sign?

it says AGC, and it's on Victoria St, just down from the Sky Tower. don't let anyone tell you there's no air pollution in Auckland City - yuck!