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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Push-Me Pull-Me

(This is partly in response to Jordan's post, The Left & Beyond, that was a reply to my earlier post about my bitterness over the Labour Party.)

From time to time I find well-meaning Labour types, of whom there are many, harangue me about how I am wasting my time in the Alliance and I would be much more useful for the Left in the Labour party.

The argument is that it would be better for the Left to make a concerted effort to push Labour leftwards, than to try to pull it towards them from outside, whether that is through another party or more general left activism.

I'm not convinced by this. I think a dual strategy is best - some pushing from within, some pulling from without.

Quite apart from my personal circumstances which would make being in Labour and trying to push it Left difficult, here are my reasons I think it's important that the Left fight Labour on two fronts:

1. Pushing Labour left is a long term project. It's not really about just pushing Labour left, it's about reclaiming it as a party of and for working people, that challenges capitalism and upholds the ideals of democratic socialism (it's all still on the back of the membership card, as Olo pointed out to me). And for a party of that nature to retain the success that Labour has had in recent years it is all about shifting the political paradigm, not just one party. For that to succeed some need to be in, to shift the party and those associated with it, and some need to be out, to appeal to those who are scathing of the party itself. Which is why it's good to have lefties in other parties but also outside parties entirely.

2. Actually it might not work. Labour may not be salvageable. I know many hold this opinion. Somedays I think it is a complete waste of time, capitalist sell-out party and other days I hold out a little hope (usually after National policy releases). If we can't push Labour left then we need to have other vehicles, electoral or not, to push the paradigm, and to challenge the PC-ness about the Mighty Market.

3. It's more accomodating. Different people prefer different activist routes. Giving them options outside the Behemoth that is Labour is a Good Idea. In particular some people are not good at dealing with the bureaucratic nature of political parties with arcane rules developed since early last century, which seem to make no sense. Those people get bruised very easily in the rough and tumble environment of Labour and are much better off in the local GPJA or PAW equivalent, where a community focus, and consensus approach, is not only respected but indeed valued.

Ultimately Labour as it is now is not a Left party - so why would lefties join? I don't mean to belittle the work of many good people inside Labour. I think they are doing an important job and I wish them good luck. But for others on the Left it is too hard to forget the Fourth Labour Government, it is too hard to look at the inaction of this Labour-led Government on so many core Labour issues (or what would have been core in Ye Olde Days).

Let us fight in our way, and you will fight in yours, and hopefully one day we will all win together.

Monday, May 30, 2005

lessons from waitakere

Aaron Bhatnagar has posted about Act and Epsom, in particular about how he doesn't expect Act to moderate its policies to win the seat.

As a veteran of the Alliance campaign to put Laila Harre in the Waitakere seat in 2002, let me tell you this - when that seat is your life line, your campaign manager will get tunnel vision and EVERYTHING will be about woeing the voters of Epsom. The national campaign will revolve around it - other policies will be diluted, or if not actually changed they will oddly be out of the limelight when many party members would expect otherwise.

Trust me. I've seen it. It changes people, that desperation.

If a Hide win in Epsom looks like the only chance for Act I guarantee that his participation in TV debates will see him name-dropping Epsom suburbs every chance he gets.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

dang, i knew there was something wrong with me

Well lots of people have been doing this one, but it was Krimson Lake who finally tipped me over the edge:


You are 57% Rational, 71% Extroverted, 14% Brutal, and 28% Arrogant. You are the Hand-Raiser, that annoying kid in class who always had an answer for everything. No doubt, as a child you probably sat in the front of the class, anxiously waving your hand back and forth in the air while your teacher desperately tried to avoid calling on you because you were the ONLY fucking kid that answered her questions. Clearly, the key traits of your personality are your rationality and your extroversion. You are like a little talkative calculator, in other words. You also tend to be rather gentle and less arrogant than most people. So what is your defect, then? Well, you're boring, and when you're not boring, you are just plain annoying with your ultra-logical responses and constant need to talk to others. So keep waving that hand in the air, son. I'm still not calling on you. You are too logical, you talk too much, and your humility and gentleness only makes me hate you more, because they make me feel like I almost SHOULDN'T hate you. But I do. Big time.

To put it less negatively:
1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.
2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.
3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.
4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.

Take the Personality Defect Test and find out what we already knew - there is something very wrong with you.

play the ball please

An Age ago I posted about the nastiness of some on the Right that seems all out of proportion to the offence they have taken. I used the example of Margaret Wilson and how she is frequently labelled as a bitch, or a witch, or a she devil, and then of course there was my post about the irrelevance of Clark's childlessness. I really do find this level of personal abuse in political discourse abhorrent. (Remembering of course that I am a self-confessed softie.)

In the last week or so I have been struck by how many Right bloggers have begun totally savaging Jordan Carter in a similar fashion.

Now I will be upfront - Jordan is a friend in real life; I like him very much, and in one particular way he has changed my life for the better. Politically we disagree often, but I do find his posts interesting and well written, even though I find myself generally opposed to his ultimate conclusions (probably because I am more idealistic than he is).

All in all my view is that Jordan is a) a human being and b) quite a good one at that. He has never murdered anyone, he has never molested anyone, he has never stolen an elderly lady's life-savings. And yet from the way some on the Right write about him you would think JTC was responsible for everything that is Wrong in the World.

So why the nastiness folks? I'm not talking about the critiques - go for it, I sure do - I'm talking about the completely unnecessary venom that is getting sprayed around far too often for the health of our little political blogging sphere.

I'm not a Christian, but how about a little bit of Do Unto Others?

give us a toot

From the logs, someone found this blog through a yahoo search to find out whether honking at women is harassment.

What's disturbing about this is not that my article about the political strategy of character assasination that some men use against women was ranked 9th. But, the fact that white supremacist website Stormfront was at numbers 3 & 5 is quite a worry.

I'm not going to gratify Stormfront with the linkage, but basically the articles are about how women are attracted to violent men because they are interested in powerful men, that a majority of us actually want violent abusive men as partners:

"If you tell a woman that you are just out of jail for armed robbery they will
LOVE you, trust me!"
Oh dear.

But back to what our hapless yahoo user was searching for - is honking at women harassment?

It's useful here to consider two factors:

1. Why are you honking?
Basically because you see a fine piece of meat. That's it. So yes that's harassment.

2. What is the reaction of the person on the receiving end of a toot aimed at their tits? (or arse)
Some women feel gratified and appreciated. I would argue that they are misguided. They are being tooted at on the basis of their attraction as a sexual object and I don't think they should feel good about being judged in that way. Other women will feel threatened, or dirty, which I think is more understandable. On the rare occasions when I've been honked at I've felt both pleased and afraid. It's the warped state of the modern woman that we judge ourselves by unhealthy standards dictated more by airbrushed magazine advertising rather than the way we would want our daughters (and sons) to assess themselves.

After all what is the difference between a driver honking and a worker on a construction site whistling and yelling out comments? The worker is clearly harassing, and in my view the driver is too.

Now I know that some of you think I'm a dried up old stick (in fact I was told that I "wished" I was being sexually harassed once, when I finally took the very difficult step of confronting someone who had quite seriously sexually harassed me over a period of some months). But I'm just sick of women being judged on their appearances. It is starting to happen to men more too, and I think that's a bad thing, not a shift to equality. I'd rather than women were lifted up than men dragged down.

As I said to a work colleague the other day - I'll start wearing makeup to work everyday when Mr Little Tiddler does. Meaning? Never.

Friday, May 27, 2005

an alternative span

The job meme over at Vile File got me thinking a little (enough to waste ten minutes writing this anyway).

If I could be a writer... I'd pen a series of riveting and best-selling (but not sell-out) left wing science fiction epics featuring marathecat as heroine.

If I could be a bonnie pirate... I'd model myself on Jack Sparrow, with a bit of Robin Hood to boot, plus an Irish lilt and a reckless attitude on the helm. They'd call me Cap'n Red and say I was hard but fair. And of course we'd have a profit-sharing attitude to the loot.

If I could be an astronaut... I'd expose how much money is wasted on the space programme and frittered off to dodgy defence companies, who just happen to be major political contributors, through "space" contracts.

If I could be a gardener... I'd level the lawn at the front, pull out the roses in the middle, plant the pohutukawa somewhere it could stay for life, and then force the people in the section at the back to mow their ruddy lawn. Or maybe I could just set fire to it for them...

If I could be a swimsuit manufacturer... I'd start a new trend for comfort and dignity over vain attempts to impress other people who don't care anyway.

Instructions are at Bad Aunt, and I tag jarrod, who will be funnier than me, Idiot/Savant, who will be smarter than me, and Maramatanga who will be more interesting than me.

Update: Here are their responses:
- jarrod - my careers guidance counsellor got it wrong
- Idiot/Savant - If I could...
- Maramatanga - The first...

Thursday, May 26, 2005


I am frequently irritated by the mumblings of Ministers, but what I've just read from Mallard really has my back up.

In response to the excellent research done by NZUSA and NZEI on student loans and teachers, Mallard has said that the number of teacher graduates show that the student loan scheme is not a disincentive to study and is not creating a recruitment problem.

But he's also recently uttered that he couldn't possibly allow a universal student allowance because that would encourage too many more people to study, and thus cost too much to be affordable.

You can't have it both ways - either being forced to borrow to live is a disincentive or it isn't. Which is it Mr Mallard? I suspect he just doesn't want to face the reality and the hard work that comes with it - the student loan scheme is going to be a massive problem for NZ in years to come, and the longer we put off fixing it the worse the fallout will be.

Monday, May 23, 2005

S(tupid) I(nternet) Q(uiz) #782

Hat tip: Xavier at About Town, who is apparently eviller than I.

Does this mean I'm destined to die in childbirth at rather a young age after the love of my life turns to the Dark Side? urgh.

I think I preferred it when I was Mon Mothma, back in Ye Olde Days at Uni, even if that meant I was going to die of a horrible genetic disease - at least I'd get to kick some Empire butt first.

good in a relative sense

Went to Revenge of the Sith last night with some mates - it's better than the previous two, but then that's not saying much.

I think we can say with a large amount of certainty now that George Lucas was talking out his arse when he said that the original Star Wars was always meant to be the fourth in a series - the contrived way he makes the ends match up is reminiscent of an attempt to clone a cat and a dog (with no question about which of the two is the dog.)

Is it just me or did Darth look rather cheesy in the end? I mean, sure that's what you'd put him in in 1977, but in 2005? I kept expecting the mozarella threads to be gluing his feet to the floor when he tried to walk around.

And gee hasn't feminism come a big way - one major female character and she doesn't get to do anything much except stand around and gaze out windows, despite the fact that Natalie Portman is a considerably better actor than Hayden Christiansen. Doesn't say much for her mothering urge that she had lost the will to live because of Anakin's transformation (don't even start me on how pathetic that scene was - if that was all it took to push someone to the Dark Side then Act would have no problem making the 5% threshold). What about the children?

Ok, enough negativity for first thing in the morning - here's hoping Batman Begins is going to make everything right in Span's Crappy Movie Land again.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

a big thank you

to Antartic Lemur of Sir Humphrey's fame for his recent comment hack - yay! I'd been trying to work it out myself for some time but as html is definitely not my second language I was struggling. I owe you a beer AL :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

don't look now it's the National Front Part II

No doubt no one else noticed, but I've had a visitor from the NF, who reckons he's not in fact the son of a Vichy collaborator.

No I am not making this up.

(PS - If anyone can point me in the direction of a hack for recent comments I promise to thank you profusely.)

don't mention the workers

I always find it interesting the money put into political parties, and "independent" advertising, by businesses at election time.

There is endless complaint from the Right that unions put money into the leftish parties, but the reality is that even for those parties corporate donations far outweigh any dosh slushed their way by organisations that are democratically controlled.

Which really is a bit of a worry. Who chooses how businesses spend their political funds? Who decides how much? Who is accountable for that spending afterwards and who are they accountable to?

Sure many businesses fritter a bit to Labour and a bit to National (hedging their bets, or seeing the contribution to political parties as part of their role as "corporate citizens"). I'm more concerned about the inevitable scare-campaign that "Business" (usually the EMA) runs every election, urging people to vote Right.

You can bet your bottom dollar that no one asks their workers how they want that money spent - but don't they have a stake in the success of the business too? Wouldn't they want money that could be spent on their wages, on improving health and safety, on better equipment, on researching new products, to go to political causes that they support if it is spent on politics at all?

Ultimately workers are generally kept out of any meaningful decision-making in the enterprises they work for. And yet they have a huge stake in it; it's their livelihood! Political spending is just one example in a long long list. Why should we assume that shareholders or CEOs or Boards know best - aren't they furthest from the shop floor in all but small businesses?

did you miss me?

Don't answer that!

I wasn't away, I just didn't have any time.

It's been a very busy week - Alliance National Council in Christchurch all weekend, very very full-on time at work, plus my car got broken into on Tuesday night, leading to very little sleep that evening, which had a negative flow-on effect for the rest of the week. Much sitting around at work going:

What shall I do next?
I know how about This
No wait I should do That now
Oh hang on I've got a new email
But I shouldn't read it I should do X!
But first I need to ring Y
Where's her phone number?
Oh look, a new email...

and so on.

Being very very tired tends to lead my grey matter around and around in ever decreasing circles.

Hoping to regain my equilibrium this weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2005

really ready?

I don't peruse Rodney Hide's blog very often, for reasons previously covered, but today I wandered over and noticed that Hide claims in this post that Act is "geared up and ready to go" for any early election the PM might call.


Then why does their Party List page still feature the 2002 Party List (star attraction, the now non-hotlinked Donna Awatere Huata)?

And is Kenneth Wang really running in two electorates? (Maybe Mr Abaford could give him some advice)

I look forward to the announcement of the Act list - could be quite interesting fallout in the battle for those top spots...


National's policy releases of late (education and employment relations - are they doing them in alphabetical order?) have had a common thread of union-bashing woven in between the words. The main purpose of the detail seems to be to piss off any and all unions, rather than being about good policy or a vision for our country.

For just one example, DPF reckons probation is a fab idea. But National are not just introducing probation - they actually plan to make new employees vulnerable to harassment, discrimination and termination without reasonable grounds (or indeed any reason at all.)

If National want actual probation then they don't have to get rid of personal grievances for the first 90 days. They could merely insert a provision which makes it clear that fixed term agreements for the purposes of assessing suitability for a position are allowable.

By abolishing the right to raise a personal grievance regarding anything that happens in the first 90 days of their employment (that's three months folks - not a short period of time) National would deny workers any justice for unfair treatment in a new job.


things that make me Very Grumpy:

- old people driving old cars very slowly (surely they should drive quickly given they have relatively little time to live?)
- no car parks
- not being able to find the rest of your lunch crowd
- not getting to eat any food until after 2.30pm
- and then having to eat something crappy because it's the only thing available
- people who cannot follow simple instructions even after you have just restated them very clearly for them
- laptops with stuffed disk drives
- spam
- mail order items that arrive three days too late for the birthday they were presents for, even though you ordered them in plenty of time
- idiots who think it would be A Good Thing if someone owned everything, right down to the air we breathe (i knew watching The Corporation last night would only make me grumpier)

Hmmm making this list is only exacerbating the grumpiness within. I think I should go do something else for a while - maybe patting the cat or smelling some roses.

boringly as predicted

The last leftish candidate has gone from NZ Political Idol - that's all three who were vaguely centre-left gone in the first three weeks as predicted. Now the Right will have to pick which of their own MPs they dislike the most, week by week. Yawn.

I would be very interested to know how many people are voting...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

daughter of the aunt of the stupid internet quiz part 63

Via my fav non-politico blog Make Tea Not War:

handcuff key
You're the key to handcuffs. You set people free,
or maybe lock them up. You can be sought,
fought over, and valued. Be careful who you let
use you; you can be an instrument of justice or
injustice depending on your choice.

What sort of key are you and what do you unlock?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

blogging and working

My hits increase during work hours, which tends to suggest that most of the people who read and comment on this blog are doing so at work (except of course for those smelly students and beneficiaries, or at least the ones who can afford decent internet access or sponge it off others).

Further most bloggers seem to post during work hours too - and most are not the boss like DPF. Comments to the high traffic blogs (the aforementioned Kiwiblog and NRT, Just Left) are largely made 9 - 5 Mon - Fri too.

To minimise my sponging (and limit my liability) I've started writing posts at home, then just doing a bit of editing and putting them up from the work puter in breaks or after I've actually finished for the day.

So are we stealing from our employers by blogging at work? Or is it just part of the accepted norm of internet use these days - up there with doing your banking online and booking movie tickets?

Any what about all that blog browsing - is it wasting our employers' time?

Monday, May 09, 2005

a big dollop of left

Hat tip: DPF, who got it from Not-PC

Social: 70
Economic: 19

I agree with criticisms others have made of the questions - I suspect they are picking up on hot topics in the UK which may not resonate so well here.

I often found that none of the answers reflected my true feelings, eg the question regarding the tip to the illegal immigrant - I wanted to give him a big tip but not because of his entrepreneurialism, because he clearly needed it.

Nice graphics though!

Still a big fan of Idiot/Savant's graph of the nz political bloggers myself.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

just when you thought this debate was in hiatus...

United Future MP Larry Baldock's Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill was drawn from the Private Members' Ballot on Wednesday, and will be voted on this week. Word is that it will be in the House on Wednesday the 11th.

The Bill seeks to clarify that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, obviously intending to ban future amendments to the Marriage Act which would allow same sex marriage. It would also mean NZ would not recognise gay marriages or civil unions entered into overseas.

At this stage it looks as if neither National nor Labour have ruled out voting for the Bill, both parties saying they will make a decision in their respective caucuses on Tuesday. Assumedly this is only the First Reading and thus the vote is over whether to send it to Select Committee or not.


Baldock wants to move in the future to repeal the Civil Unions Act and the Human Rights Act. But apparently it's nothing to do with UF being a Christian party - where's a Tui ad when you need one?

GayNZ articles:
- NZ gay marriage ban vote next week
- Govt considers gay marriage ban
- UF: Future antigay bills not ruled out

nz political idol watch

Further to my post last month about NZ Political Idol, I note that my prediction that the 3 vaguely leftish candidates would go first due to the nature of the selection and the dominance of the Right in the voting figures (even if they are outnumbered they have less hated candidates to choose from than the Left) has been proven correct.

Matt Robson is out this week, following Clark's departure last week, and Nandor has been in the bottom three both weeks so his days must surely be numbered.

Would be interesting to see what the results would be if the voters were the same demographic as the Telly show (which I understand involves music rather than politics) - namely tween and teen girls...

when is an affair the nation's affair?

News of the break-up of Prebble's second marriage due to an affair with a journalist (hat tip: DPF) has brought up that Old Chestnut for me - is it anyone else's business just because Prebble is a politician? Should his suitability for public life be judged by his behaviour in his private life?

In favour:
- if a person will betray their spouse then surely they might betray others, eg their party, their voters, their country
- if you can judge someone by the way they treat their cats then the way they treat their next of kin ought to also be at least mildly indicative

- someone could well have different standards regarding their private and public interactions
- just as a person's sexuality has no bearing on their suitability for public life neither should their marital status or bedroom antics

I'm ambivalent - I have many other reasons for having a very dim opinion of Prebble and, while the break-up of a marriage always makes me a bit sad, my view of Mr I'll Save The Railways really couldn't get any lower.

blog eulogies

The decision by Greg from NZ Political Comments to give up blogging has prompted several posts lamenting and/or commenting on his departure, as well as many comments to his original post, mainly expressing regret. This is just another in a recent line of blog euthanasias (although at least one has merely reinvented themselves, eg Ruth previously of Freudian Slippers).

It's all a bit like being able to watch your own funeral - you get to see who likes you, who doesn't, and in fact you could even reply to them if you ever come back to your blog again.

But perhaps it would be helpful if people could be open about their loves and hates before Blog Death occurs, just like in real life, it might make a difference to someone - I know I'm soft, but it would be good if we could all be a little nicer to each other.

For the record, I hope that Greg pops up somewhere else soon :-)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

eggs benny

another in a short series of vaguely amusing pictures with papist connotations

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Why - Ten Questions

Ten Questions I would Really Like Answers To...

1. Why did JT really say all those stupid things to Ian Wishart?

2. Why do bad things happen to good people?

3. Why did Shannon tell Sauj in the late 90s that I stole her boyfriend back in the mid 90s?

4. Why do the National Front nutters hate so much?

5. Why would anyone vote for a party with no policies?

6. Why do some managers delight in being complete arses to those they manage?

7. Why does time go faster when I'm running late?

8. Why do right wingers think Helen Clark is a socialist?

9. Why don't the rest of Queen just accept that Freddie Mercury is dead and that it is All Over Rover?

and finally

10. Why is it easier to destroy than rebuild?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

with a flower in their hair

Noticed last night, on the bottom of this Stuff article about political polls, a paid Google Ad for the Freedom Party, the offshoot that sprang from Act at their last conference.

Looks like they haven't quite run out of fertilizer yet.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

panic and not panic

and here's some other kiwi blog reviews of the h2g2 flick, to give you (by whom I mean Mr The Red really) a more balanced view than mine:

- NZ Pundit - 'Life? Don't talk to me about life'
- Jonathon's Liverstone - Don't Panic!
- Michael's World - Still searching for the Question...
- It's All A Narrative Structure, Damnit (Morthos from Brain Stab) - More on the Guide Film

(Will add more as they become apparent to me)

not not banned

Damn, I thought I was safe and had eluded Media Cow's banning list, but unfortunately I have indeed committed the sin of referring to the Pope's Holy Sprinkler...

ah but who would really solve it?

DPF is complaining about Labour not actually increasing the number of students receiving an allowance, in response to the excellent digging by Keith Ng. Frogblog has also jumped into the pond with criticism of Labour by the Greens.

Jordan has responded on his blog in fashion, defending Mallard and Labour, but has made a better point in comments to DPF:

"And the chances of your party doing that are.... what.... approaching zero?
("that" being removing the allowance age means testing)"

Yes there is a problem, yes it looks like Labour has not delivered on its promise (nor on the perennial internal remits demanding a universal student allowance that I am sure many of its members would like to see implemented).

But who would deliver a universal student allowance? Who would deal to the injustice of students being considered children until the unjustifiably old age of 25, and thus being the only Kiwis who have no Government safety net?

Not the party David Farrar supports, that's for sure. And probably not Labour either, truth be known (and contrary to Greg Stephen's hopes).

What it is going to take is either:
a) extreme and organised activism from a large portion of the Labour membership
b) a coalition partner for Labour who will push and push and push, and have the numbers to wield some power

That coalition partner is realistically going to have to be the Greens or another Left party of the future (eg a resurgent Alliance). I'm not sure that the Green membership is going to be prepared to put in the spade work for a universal allowance ahead of other issues, in particular GE or energy.

New Zealand First has also flirted with a universal student allowance in the past (don't know if their policy has been reconfirmed for this election yet). But I think Brian Donnelly is still bitter that students didn't vote for them in droves back in the mid 90s (does anyone vote for NZF in droves beyond the elderly and those differently-abled in terms of racial tolerance?) so it won't be a priority. Plus I still remember listening to the Budget Winston delivered when he put in place a "universal student allowance" which was actually just a renaming of the EFTS funding and not a bean went to actual students. The bastard - he got my hopes up and then dashed them again, all in one sentence (albeit a very long one).

So all in all it's a bit disingenuous for the right to complain when they would do much worse in terms of student support. I know that DPF supports a lowering of the age of parental means testing himself, but his party definitely does not support any improvements for allowances.


Monday, May 02, 2005

manifestly not the Only Poll That Counts

Further to About Town's poll asking which of four named parties is least likely to get (back) into Parliament in July/August/September 2005.

As I pointed out in comments, it's not really an Apples and Apples Situation - it would be fairer to compare the major extra-parliamentary minnows than compare one of them to three minor parties who are in the House already.

So to that end:

Who do you think is most likely to break the 5% threshold in 2005?

Choices are from, in alphabetical order:

- Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP)
- Alliance
- Christian Heritage Party
- Destiny NZ
- Libertarianz
- NZ Democrats
- National Front (not yet registered)

Votes in comments please.

You might also want to speculate about who will get the lowest share of the party vote too...

Sunday, May 01, 2005

will the Maori Party be left IV

Comments in the Listener by Tariana Turia (not available online) are quite worrying:

Turia denies her party is looking back and she remains convinced that Maori will not achieve under Labour, and says that the statistics prove it.


"In reality, if you look at the history of the National Party, because of their free-market, private-enterprise philosophy, they have actually allowed Maori people to participate and take back some control."


"Kohanga reo, kura kaupapa, wananga, Maori health providers and Maori social service providers were Maori initiatives, but all came out under National governments."


"Labour has always believed the state shall provide. Labour has kept our people trapped in dependence..."

An interesting comment from the article's author:

...Turia is better at describing what the state does badly than giving detail of Maori Party policy to make service delivery work better.

Where is the policy????

Previous posts on the matter:
- will the Maori Party be left I
- will the Maori Party be left II
- will the Maori Party be left III
- that "brand"

and, on Matt McCarten's involvement in the Maori Party (and others):
- he's a party person

(I'm not obsessed, I just want some bloody policy and principles so that I can determine whether they are indeed left or not!)

mostly harmless

Further to my posts here and here regarding the h2g2 filum (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie for those not up with the ZZ9 parlance), Friday night was The Night.

Overall I was a bit depressed (having a Marvin moment) when the credits rolled. It was just slightly short of the level that I would have found it acceptable - a D+ if you will. Of course that made the failure even worse.

Now I'm not saying that other people won't enjoy it. I could see that it was objectively quite good and certainly very funny. But for me I was too familiar with the books to sit back and let it all be new to me. I kept thinking of the punchlines before they had finished the jokes. Which isn't conducive to Big Belly Laughs, unfortunately.

Stylistically I thought it was pretty bang on. It was reminiscent of the photo-graphic novel version put out with the holographic cover a few years back, although I almost shed a tear when I saw the Heart of Gold - cool shape and look, but not even remotely shoe-like. The other things that were a big disappointment was the Zaphod Head Situation and the resolution of the Trillian Issue (which tends to point to the other books not making it to the big screen imho).

The casting was good too - Marvin was superb, although I thought Rickman could have got away with being a bit more sarky. Freeman is a different kind of Dent from the one in the TV series, but still credible. Rockwell was spot on for Zaphod (despite the Head issue) and the actress who played Trillian, who I had never seen before, was also a good match. I am a tad concerned about the Malkovich character, but have to read up a bit before I can make a reliable pronouncement on that.

My favourite line, which I'm not even sure is in the book (having foolishly leant my copy out) - that annoying Vogon that seems only capable of hissing gleefully "Resistance is Useless" over and over, heh heh!

All up - go see it because DNA's wife and daughter deserve the royalties and you will at the least find it an amusing diversion. And hopefully it will mean even more people listen to the radio series, read the books, and rent the original TV show. Which would be A Good Thing.

that time of year part VI - progress report

Yes yet more in my ongoing accountability exercise that revolves around those now nearly ancient New Year's Resolutions.

Totally ticked off:
1. Get a new job in the area I want to work in - still no tick to the Roller Skate Reward though.

5. Get at least one stamp in my shiny unused passport - see Vietnam posts, more on that still to post - yes I know I'm a Lazy Arse about finishing those off but hopefully Mr Tin's impending visit to 'Nam will encourage me

Ticking in train:
3. Think positive - still going well, with a few blips from time to time. Need to realise that I am in fact no longer working in an environment that is akin to a minefield.

4. Resist over-committing - definitely doing well here - mainly by keeping my mouth shut.

7. Get up to date with my Alliance projects - have this nice little list that is progressing very slowly, but progress is progress, isn't it?

Totally not ticked off, not even a little bit:
2. Exercise more - I don't think I've done any exercise at all since the March report. Too many excuses, not enough spare time, etc.

6. Finish the kitchen - gosh now it isn't even tidy. Oops.

Past progress reports:
- March
- February
- January