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

Sunday, October 31, 2004

i guess PHOs are branching out in a bid to keep fees down? Spotted in the Atrium on Elliott yesterday.
mara pic

Friday, October 29, 2004

how can this be true?!

Over at No Right Turn, IS has posted a picture of a leaflet apparently circulating amongst African Americans (in the USA of course).

this seems farcical - not to say it isn't real and happening - it is just so extreme as to be unbelievable. if it isn't a pisstake then it is very very sad indeed :-(

Thursday, October 28, 2004

what (some) men in power do to women who threaten them

i have just realised that i have seen this happen twice now - the slow but steady insidious character assassination of a woman who threatens a man (or group of men) in power.

i saw it happen in a students' association back in the late nineties - a man, aided at times by his cronies, identified a friend of mine as the leader of a faction that opposed him and so he subtly harassed her and lied about her in public until there was a groundswell against her and he did his best to push her over the edge mentally. constant petty erosion of sanity by such seemingly innocuous tactics like sitting outside her office for hours on end reading an old newspaper upside down, always coming up to her table at the pub and taking her seat whenever she stood up to get a drink, deliberately baiting her in meetings in snide ways designed to force an emotional reaction through the use of trigger words which would get a reaction out of most people (the example that comes to mind is calling someone who has believed in honouring the Treaty since childhood a racist). and then there were the leaflets and speeches denouncing her as mad and misguided and incapable and incompetent (all of which was untrue).

i have seen it happen again in the now and i hate it. i hate it passionately because it is so dishonest.

if you disagree be honest enough to disagree on the principle, or the policy, or the idea, but don't take the nasty despicable path of demonising the person to lose their side of the argument support. it is much easier to drive things on an emotional basis - people will react without thinking and write other people off much more quickly.

of course we all slip up and make remarks that we probably shouldn't. but what i am talking about here is a systematic attempt to undermine someone, usually a woman, by making them out to be weak, emotional and not capable of rational thought. this is so much easier when the target is a woman - even other women will write off their own once they start crying at a meeting, i have seen it happen. just because you are emotional does not mean you are irrational, but in our culture this is not the dominant belief. think about how women who make allegations of rape have been treated historically - false allegations get media coverage when proven ones do not, and yet false allegations would be well less than 5% of all those made (not to mention all the ones that are never made).

an emotional reaction does not mean you do not have an intellectual or moral argument to support that reaction.

strange things lurk in the blogosphere

found this strange little blog whilst just looking around places - i can't imagine why you would have a blog but not post on it!!

ps we really must come up with a better word than blogosphere. it is so HG Wells.

one hundred sixty nine years ago today

the Declaration of Independence was signed by the United Tribes of New Zealand. Sounds like a good excuse for a much needed public holiday to me! (i know we just had Labour Weekend, but i need a day off already!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

early election? bah humbug

this may well come back to bite me in the arse, but anyway:

the Tamihere saga is unlikely to cause an early election. Let's look at the scenarios:

1. JT gets off the allegations - he'll stay out of Cabinet but in the House - i suspect Labour will bend over backwards to keep him in

2. JT doesn't get off and resigns (or is kicked) - by-election in Tamaki Makaurau that basically only MP or Lab can win - if MP wins and doesn't come to the party on confidence and supply then it will lose a lot of its support base. of course they will want concessions (and fair enough) and Lab will have to give them, as its polling rating is likely to dip after losing a by-election and Lab won't call an early election unless there is some advantage to it. also the Greens would probably promise confidence and supply in return for support on the zero tolerance issue around GE food, a pretty cheap price for Lab.

so all in all, no excuse for an early election (just like last time really) but this time the difference is that Lab won't want to go early as their polling is not high enough yet. end of story.

rumours of our demise etc II

just got a call from a party member who was called up not long ago by a telephone polling survey person. when they asked who he would vote for if an election were held tomorrow and he answered the Alliance he was told "they don't exist anymore". he put them right.

now i suspect that this was not in fact one of the major polls - they have shown low level support for the Alliance (roughly the same as Destiny or the Progs) in recent months - around the 0.3% mark.

i reckon the pollster was in fact from Act or National - the party member is in Epsom...

donna under the legal spotlight again

still hanging out for the Supreme Court decision (as blogged about back in early October)

but in the meantime Donna is certainly racking up the court time facing fraud charges with her husband, regarding the Pipi Foundation, stomach stapling, a pre-signed chequebook, etc.

what will she do if she loses the SC case? she'll be out of Parliament and have little credibility to get another job, even if the SFO charges aren't proven. obviously if they are she'll be in prison, so in little need of a short or medium term plan.

what an amazing life she has had - maybe she should update her autobio once all this is over...

these blogs abandoned?

i know i'm not that up on the daily blogging, but i really wish that Mike and those two rascals at RTM would post more... Also being slack lately are Generation Y Not and Mr Kearney (who has at least explained himself). Number 60 has also posted after nearly a month off.

sorry to crack the whip people but i like to read your stuff!

Update: Antipodean Journal is also guilty of not posting recently - v sad span.

Monday, October 18, 2004

last pic on the matter - Hikoi II pic 10

the future?
mara pic

woman in charge - Hikoi II pic 9

maori warden looking spiffing

juxtaposition - Hikoi II pic 8

fashionistas meet your doom

i want one of these - Hikoi II pic 7

the new essential for every march worth its salt

a bit gloomy really - Hikoi II pic 6

i think this one came from the anarchists?

really gets to the nub of the matter - Hikoi II pic 5

just says it all really

poor fishy - Hikoi II pic 4

mad fish or sad fish? or both. i imagine it's quite grumpy either way.

my second fav placard - Hikoi II pic 3

the one behind says "Labor Repent"

baby on board - Hikoi II pic 1


flags - Hikoi II pic2

theme music: the answer my friend... (bob dylan)

for some reason the marchers on the hikoi were really really really keen on flags. i'm more of a placard person my self, or a cool banner. but the flags made a v big impact.

hikoi II - the return

Well very interesting this was - I missed the first one (shame, i've always wanted to walk across the harbour bridge) so even though I was feeling moderately poorly i was up and at 'em at a disgustingly early hour for Saturday (9am).

What was basically a first for me was being a white face in a mostly brown protest. My activist history has mainly been around student stuff - free education campaigning etc. It took a little while to adjust, not so much to being one of a small number of honkies, but to knowing that this meant more to most of the other protesters than it did to me. And that they knew a lot more about it than i did. I went with other PC white breads - one was even a Brit - and there was absolutely no hostility towards us. Our Maori friends were just stoked to see us.

It was a cheerful march - singing, chanting, chatting. If you accidentally walked into someone or stepped on their heel you would apologise and they would apologise back. Lots of kids, some really great placards - my favourite, which unfortunately I didn't get a shot of, simply said "Whakarongo" and was carried by a young boy, probably about 10.

The media coverage of this hikoi has been much diminished, and with Tamihere in the news I guess the quota for covering "maori" politics is already met each day. But this foreshore and seabed issue is not just one for the tangata whenua - those of us who are tau iwi are only able to be here because of the Treaty - we have no rights without it. We have had generations of ignoring and dishonouring the Treaty and if we continue in my generation then we are only creating yet more grievances for our children to (try to) solve.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

probably best to stay on the ground tomorrow

big time strike action at air nz tomorrow - there will be pickets at their tower block in the city centre, out at the international terminal, and at the domestic one too (all in Auckland). Not sure what is happening elsewhere in the country, but it should be a doozy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

more puss pulchritude

time for another pic of the quintessential cat, Mara. all gaze in wonder upon her marvellousness.

the perfect food

i've found it, at last, and it is popcorn.

i defy anyone to suggest a superior foodstuff.

"the sky is falling!" (again)

listening to some of the debate on the ERA Amendment Bill, i have been struck by the Chicken Little attitude of most of those i heard speaking against. honestly you would think it was the end of capitalism or something (i wish).

the indignance from particularly National speakers that Labour was doing something for unions and workers was quite bizarre - as if passing laws that support the people who vote for you was not something National did when it was in power.

the cry of "compulsory unionism" was disingenuous. even the bargaining fee is not compulsory unionism - it requires a ballot of all the workers on the site and then agreement with the employer. hardly unions enforcing a closed shop.

Peter Brown, who opposes parts of the Bill, actually spoke quite sensibly. he didn't get all ridiculous, or play to the galleries, although he got a great deal of heckling and interjection. he calmly stated his case and rather than just turning up with a canned speech he actually responded to the previous speakers. this may not look as good on television but it showed a thoughtful approach to debating (rather than just shouting) and although i disagree with him on a great deal it cemented the respect i have for him that began to grow when i spoke on the same podium as him at an election meeting in Mt Eden back in 2002. i'm fond of the old guy, even though i think he's really rather misguided. and no doubt he would think the same of me, if he could remember who i was ;-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

wellington mayoralty closer than it appears

word is that Prendergast only got back in on the 7th preference and is in fact about 1000 votes ahead of Pepperell...

given the revelation about the 800 uncounted votes, the ensuing recounts, and the special still to come there is a very slim chance she may in fact be unseated like her Auckland compadre.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

a bit more local bod news

firstly, i made a few errors in the elections posts below, due to my haste in posting in some cases and in others due to results not being quite final and things changing slightly in a few places - with small margins slight changes can be significant - i'll come back and fix them on the morrow.

secondly, Hubcaps rocked up to the City Vision function this arvo - i'd already gone home to rest up before Caligula, but The Man Who Sits In The Comfy Chair reported back that Hubbsie was much more savvy than he has been portrayed in the media, in particular not giving too much away in his speech to the CVers. there were no loud proclamations of Hucker as Deputy Mayor, so clearly that's not in the bag just yet.

Hubcaps did however speak about the importance of the community boards, and that he thinks they are crash hot (probably not in those words). Given that there is a review of ACC's electoral arrangements coming up during his mayoralty, and CRN has expressed a desire in the past to do away with community boards, this could be reasonably significant.

thirdly, interesting to hear NatRad announcing that the centre-left has taken 13 of the council votes - this is rather generous as it must include Hubbers and the two Action Hobson people (none of whom are going to vote with the centre-left on everything I expect) and Faye Storer
from Waiheke, who has certainly worked with the centre-lefties in the past, but again, not 100% of the time.

the big game in town

well the Auckland Regional Council is basically now confused. i texted a friend of mine who works for them and he said it's an interesting mix...

Auckland City gets 4 spots - Citizens and Ratepayers Now (CRN) took the top three (Michael Barnett who you may remember from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and that grand flick "When Bowties Go Bad", Judith Bassett who I know next to nothing about, and David Hay who was deputy mayor for ACC and (in)famously opposed the Hero parade) and City Vision took out the fourth spot with Mike Lee, who was elected in a by-election after the death of Phil Warren and was returned this time.

Manukau City gets 3 spots - the right have taken two spots (Craig Little, Advancing Auckland, and Bill Burrill, Independent) and RAM have taken the third (Robyn Hughes).

North Shore City gets 2 seats - couldn't find their results online, but it's expected to be two of Joel Cayford (centre-left), Wyn Hoadley (centre I think) and Ian Bradley (right and incumbent).

Waitakere City gets 2 seats - also couldn't find their results online. But Sandra Coney and Paul Walbran, centre-left incumbents, are expected to be returned.

Rodney gets 1 seat - Christine Rose has won - the incumbent Brian Smith was second, but not sure about Ms Rose's affiliations.

Franklin gets 1 seat - and who knows who it went to, I can't find it online.

So best case scenario (for the left):
Centre-left - 4 (Lee, Coney, Walbran, maybe Cayford)
RAM - 1 (Hughes)
Centre-right - 6 definite (Barnett, Bassett, Hay, Little, Burrill, Bradley)
Unknowns - 2 (Rose, whoever wins Franklin)

Clear but control to the right, so I guess David Hay will be the next ARC chair. Arguably this is worse than Gwen Bull.

Interesting to consider is the spoiler role that RAM may have played. In Auckland City they may well have knocked Marie Leadbeater (CV) out, and in Manukau City they have won their only seat on the ARC, which might have gone to Steve Bayliss of centre-left ticket Manukau Vision had they not run. Not sure if the RAM rep and the other centre-lefters will be working together as RAM seemed to cover a pretty wide range of the political spectrum and didn't strike me as "left" so much as "we don't want to run with any of the other tickets".

Helpfully the ARC actually has the results that are known on their site here. Shame on those councils that haven't been up there on the interweb thing - including those who have published other results but not the ARC!

those important little people

theme music: in the neighbourhood (sisters underground)

let us not forget our community boards in all the kerfuffle about mayors and councillors!

in Auckland City the centre-left has clear control of four of the nine community boards - Avondale (5 total - 4 City Vision, 1 Citizens and Ratepayers Now), Eden-Albert (6 total - all CV), Tamaki (5 total - all Labour), Western Bays (5 total - all CV).

Of the other boards, I know basically nothing about Great Barrier (5 independents out of 5 seats) and Maungakiekie (5 Team Maungakiekie out of 5 seats). I suspect that Maungakiekie must be centre-left though, as C&R stood against TM.

Hobson is an even split between C&R and Action Hobson. The highest polling candidate last time, C&R's Aaron Bhatnagar, has lost his seat - not sure what that's about! This will certainly be an interesting board to sit in on from time to time. (Not that I will)

Mount Roskill has 3 C&R and 2 CV. This is no change from last time. The Man Who Sits In The Comfy Chair can sit in it a while longer, having come second to last, but with a smile on his dial.

And Waiheke has 1 CV, 1 C&R and 3 Independents. At least one of the independents, Faye Storer has centre-left tendencies. Not sure how this will play out.

muesli mayor

Hubbard appears to have caned Banks, in provisional results for the Auckland City Mayoralty.

Interesting to see the size of the majority (approx 17,000 votes) and the size of Fletcher's share - only 11,000-odd, so considerably less than the difference. i wonder how she will really feel about this result - it can't have been a surprise, and she has seemed to be very emotionally involved in the race (but then that is often the story the media run about lone female candidates).

Rumour has it that Banks was seen cleaning out his office yesterday, but i take that with a whopping great grain of salt - he doesn't seem to me the kind of man to do that, and i'm sure there will be a transitional period to ensure good governance.

Given that the centre-left has basically taken control of the council (6 City Vision councillors, 3 Labour, plus the mayor on most things maybe?) the anticipation is that Hubbard will pick up Bruce Hucker as his deputy mayor, and the centre-left will be a heavy influence on him. Both left and right will be scrambling to get in the ear of a man who may be much more aloof than many suspect. While I think Hubbard will want advice, I don't think he will be naive about attempts to control him (or at least not for long).

The 2 Action Hobson councillors could also play a pivotal role. Christine Caughey ran under a joint CV-Team Auckland ticket in a by-election (which she lost) so she must be reasonably centre to have been selected for that. I suspect moves will be made early on by CV to bring them into the left fold.

The reality for the centre-left is that they will disagree - in particular there may be disagreements with the Greens (Neil Abel in Eden-Albert, and others on community boards) over the various roading projects. But if a process can be agreed early on to allow "agree to disagree", within certain limits, then the team should be able to hang together and build for next time.

Links to others on this:

Friday, October 08, 2004

the water and the air above

theme music: anchor me (muttonbirds)

interesting piece on Nat Rad this morning - interview with a Govt lawyer about the Tuwharetoa situation (ie they were "given" the lakebed back in 1992 as part of their settlement, and are now preparing to charge for use of the water and the air above said lakebed) which basically said that all that can be done is to ask Tuwharetoa to be nice, because the law is all on their side.

which of course was totally ignored by Brash in his media work on it - it's those nutty Maoris again, demanding the air we breath and the stars and the moon.

this is not the case at all. there is a clear common law situation that the air (and in this case probably the water) above a piece of land is owned by the owner of the land. if my neighbour (a church in fact) wanted to build something that overhung my land they would need my consent and i would be entitled to charge them for this opportunity. i guess it would be up to me whether that would be a one-off or rent.

National get all uppity and try to take the moral high ground when accused of Maori bashing - if you actually look at the history of a lot of Treaty settlements the iwi involved has often been incredibly generous to the Crown and the community (the Tainui settlement comes to mind) often giving back land to DOC or the Crown when it is part of a settlement, or agreeing to radically reduce their original settlement claim, dollars wise, once it is recognised that it is a legitimate claim.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

maybe it's daylight savings

quite a few of the regulars seem pretty light on the ol' blogging lately (Jordan i'm looking at you in particular) - why is that? some of them are still high in the comment count, but do they think they suddenly have not much to say after all this time spouting off on things high and low?

homer over ned anyday

why is it that most people probably prefer homer over ned? i was sitting there tonight, having usurped the Comfy Chair from The Man Who Usually Sits In It (he was using the puter), and i realised that ned is basically a good man, although i might disagree with his religious choices, and yet i really want homer to triumph over him, 9 times out of 10.

i'm no big fan of homer - but i'm damned if i'll see that do-gooder win over someone with human flaws!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

unfortunate pun time

Nat Rad referred to the forestry jobs that have been axed at the East Cape on the 6pm news. ba-dum-dum.

decision reserved...

well the first case in the Supreme Court was heard today - yup that pesky Act v Awatere Huata one. arguments were heard, the five judges have retired, and are now reserving their decision.

given that this is the first case the Supreme Court has heard will be interesting to see if they overturn the lower courts - will they want to throw their supreme-ness around?

anyone have any ideas about when we can expect the decision? i have a vague memory that it took about two weeks last time?

Monday, October 04, 2004

speeding - the new drink-driving

theme music: going the distance (cake)

is speeding as bad as drink driving?

fifteen years ago many people would have said drinking and driving wasn't that big a deal - if you can get the keys in the ignition you can drive - but few would now. will this happen to speeding too?

like most people, i really love to drive fast, really fast. but it's a guilty pleasure very rarely indulged - i fear an accident, and i fear a ticket. i know if i hit something when i am driving fast then i will probably hurt myself and definitely hurt what i hit. i've had one near head-on accident already when i wasn't driving fast (someone else ran a red light) and that was bad enough, even though neither of us was badly hurt.

The Man Who Sits In The Comfy Chair thinks the "if you speed be prepared to kill" line is a crock. But then he speeds, frequently, and he drives a lot. Is this any different from the attitude of drink drivers in years gone by - "i can handle it", "it's not me, it's those other people, they don't know how to drink (speed) responsibly" etc.

i think there are other factors that contribute to speed being a killer on our roads - recently there was an Australian expert reported talking about the need to eliminate roadside hazards that can be hit, eg trees, for all our roads where the speed limit is high. maybe if we had done this Michael King and his partner would still be alive as that is what killed them - simply driving into a tree, not even breaking the speed limit.

but until we fix those kinds of hazards clearly driving fast is not as safe as we all like to think.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

mr tiki

i'm not sure if this is just aesthetically offensive, or culturally offensive as well...

(spotted in rotorua at hell's gate, sept 04)

Friday, October 01, 2004

feeling a bit icky about this

so coddington and kerr have had some kind of weird falling out. Whiggy, amongst others, have blogged on it already and I know i should be happy, as a leftie, that two of the most right wing people in public life are in this situation, but i have to say i feel quite a high level of discomfort.

perhaps it's the personal nature of it, and the fact that it sounds very similar to an experience i have had - but i don't think anyone benefits from this kind of thing being dragged through the papers. yet another example of gossip being reported rather than news :-(

i have to say if i was Catherine Judd i probably would have denied it too - even right wingers deserve a bit of privacy in these circumstances.

does that make me a hypocrit or just a decent human being?

missing in action

this week i've been struck by the lack of Banksie billboards up on my usual routes. today confirmed their absence, as i didn't see a single one driving out to the airport and back from Kingsland. anyone know why they've come down over a week early? or have i just been uncommonly lucky not to strike any?

Update: It looks as though it's just Roskill-Avondale who has been cured of the great Banks Rash - Eden-Albert certainly had billboards, on both public and private sites.