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Monday, December 31, 2007

Joining the dots

Thanks to a very cool GNS chart that a commenter recommended:

Last 10 years of earthquakes in NZ


(Stewart Island is in the lower left corner)


(magnitudes not to scale)

According to the theory that the tectonic plate to the East is sliding underneath the Western plate we should see some seismological evidence - and we do. Some commenters in the post below have sided with Beaker's random theory of earthquake activity:
Six *reported* quakes over a 10 day period is perfectly to be expected and doesn't signify anything (there were actually 49 3.5+ quakes in that period). Random events *do* form apparent clusters [...] The reason you *heard* about lots of quakes is that the news media will report small quakes after a newsworthy large one - especially at Christmas with a lack of other (domestic) news. Media aftershocks, not seismic ones.

Well really? The cluster (as shown below in the last ten days image) does signify something, "apparent clusters" are the bread and butter of scientific observations, and after the main quake (that affected Gisborne) this "apparent cluster" can be observed independently of the media to have been accompanied by other quakes occuring in a very localised area within days of each other. So let's put it in perspective:

Seismic activity over the last year:


And the preceeding 50 days:


And the last ten days. The cluster near Gisborne is clear as are the two bigger deep quakes in the middle of the island (if they are unrelated it is still obvious that the ones around Gisborne are a strong pattern):


And what was the activity like on those 10 days over the last ten years? (to determine whether these recent events are not unusual - as some commenters have implied)











Sunday, December 30, 2007

NZ government scientist insists week-long earthquake swarm is unconnected and random: "Mimi, mi, mi, mimimi, mi"

Is it any wonder that Muppet Labs can't predict earthquakes when they insist that all clusters of the phenomena they study are always random? A scientist in any other field who ignored this localised cluster data and the place it has in the system that causes it (ie. plate tectonics) would be drummed out of their profession... but not if you're a seisemologist, apparently.

GNS Science says a spate of earthquakes in the North Island are not connected.
A quake measuring 5.6 on the Richter Scale occurred at 7.03am on Saturday, 80km below the surface of Lake Taupo. It was felt across much of the central North Island.
An earlier quake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale occurred at 9.07pm on Thursday. It was located 10km northwest of Turangi at a depth of 120km.
Seismologist Brian Field says it is unlikely the latest earthquake has caused any significant damage.
says a spate of recent earthquakes in the North Island are not connected and are completely random.
There were two quakes on Boxing Day: a 4.4 magnitude earthquake at 5.18pm, 40km south of Hawera, and another measuring 3.5, 60km northeast of Gisborne at 7.22am.
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Gisborne region at 8.55pm on Thursday, 20 December [...]
- 2:29pm on 29 Dec 2007

"Not connected and completely random"

Which would naturally, of course explain this:

There was an earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale 50km south east of Wairoa today.
GNS Science said the earthquake occurred at 11.34am and was at a depth of 25km.
- 12:18PM Sunday December 30, 2007

The only thing unconnected in this story is the seismologist from his brain.


Friday, December 28, 2007

8 for '08

Because I was tagged, here are the eight things I wish for in 2008:

1. Better editorial and information content from this country's mainstream and alternative media. That includes TVNZ's new news service, insider coverage of the general election campaign from bloggers, and other online media (including the re-launched Tumeke!).

2. Refusal by Whakatohea to accept unilateral settlement terms of the Crown - triggering uncertainty about Iwi-Crown "Treaty" settlements past and present. Mallard sent in by Clark and Cullen as a head-kicker to resolve impasse, but back-fires massively. Mallard thought he had survived the year intact, but he will make at least one mighty gaff next year that will cost him and the government - if it's not this issue there will be plenty more of them.

3. Maori Party to win all Maori seats in general election and hold balance of power: the price of support being a constitutional pathway to implement Treaty of Waitangi's Rangatiratanga (tribal autonomy) provisions and a retrospective guarantee of equal compensation for injustice - to be determined judicially. Made clear to the government that transition from the idea of the "Realm of New Zealand (Aotearoa)" to any idea of "Aotearoa (Republic of New Zealand)" must involve satisfactory resolution of Treaty issues on a national consensus basis.

4. After much heated public debate the Auckland Commission recommends transit issues for the entire region be split between ARTA and a new commission specifically mandated to manage, build and operate an electric rapid rail system that will service 80% of the urban area's population (ie. within 1km of a station) after 50 years - to be funded jointly by the Crown out of the consolidated fund as a "national project", and by a levy via rates on every property within 1 km of a station. The new commission will have fast-track planning/consent authorities. Judith Tizard loses her seat to an independent and because of a reduced party vote for Labour also doesn't make it back in on the list.

5. At the last minute someone from Transpower realises that for the long-term benefit they can bury the Waikato-Otahuhu electricity line in a trench from Putaruru to Wiri via the edge of the Hunua ranges and across the Hauraki plains - and at the same time someone from Transit realises that for the long-term benefit they can build a motorway for the Auckland-Waikato-Tauranga traffic from Putaruru to Wiri via the edge of the Hunua ranges and across the Hauraki plains. Then these two people email each other and get it approved.

6. Carbon trading markets fail to become international because of many governments' rorting and general lack of transparency - new internationally recognised verification methods developed to avert crisis.

7. Police Act review by Parliament upsets police senior management by tightening quality control of applicants, making senior officials more accountable, limiting their use of weapons, declaring they have no exclusivity in many respects they are assumed to now, and beginning the mechanics of a formalised local accountability.

8. On the world stage: If Kosovo declares independence the EU could recognise it while no-one else does and that could make Russia very angry - towards everyone, so I hope that doesn't happen. The Beijing Olympics will be a gloriously fascist spectacle. The NZ-China Free Trade agreement will be in dead-lock because NZ will refuse Chinese demands to tie the FTA to a change in the NZ immigration policy that will let in many thousands of poor/uneducated Chinese citizens who would never normally qualify for residency. The US Presidential race is won by Barack Obama over Mitt Romney (but surely it's Hillary, right?) in a "watershed" election. Iraq magically stabilises and all the foreign fighters (Americans, mercenaries, jihadists etc.) will all go home, smoke some ganja, chill out, and do all their attacks in the comments section of each others' blogs... like civilised people.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Readers of this blog will have noticed some changes to this website and the impending re-launch of the magazine website. Improvements to the side bar contents are continuing and will be complete by the New Year.

From the new-look blog expect a faster download, images loading correctly, better organised information and a cleaner presentation; content-wise expect new developments.

From the new-look tumeke.org site expect a magazine-style presentation of current affairs articles and reviews as well as useful blogosphere information. Unfortunately the archived data from the website (from February 2004) is still on the hard drives not yet returned by the police from the sedition trial so it may take a while to restore them.

If there is any aspect of this blog (apart from the actual editorial content!) that needs improving please mention it in the comments section of this post

ALSO: The taggers are about - and I'll have to respond thoughtfully so it may take a few days as I'm still busy with the websites.

AND: I will post my death list for next year on January the first.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wheels fall off Cullen's helicopter entry

Cullen forced to flee signing by angry mob:
Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen had to be protected from an angry mob of screaming protesters after being verbally abused and jostled before the signing of a historic Maori land claim agreement between the Crown and a small Far North iwi. [...] But the event quickly turned sour after Dr Cullen, the Treaty Negotiations Minister, flew in by helicopter and landed on the beach to be met by a hostile group protesting against the agreement being signed. [...] Dr Cullen left in the helicopter and signatories to the agreement later met in Kerikeri - described in a media release as "a more accessible location" to "ensure all parties could attend".

And so the protesting parties cannot attend no doubt.

A spokesman for the Ngati Aukiwa group who oppose the agreement, Wilfred Petersen jnr, said most of the about 200 people at the beach were against the arrangement. "We didn't want them signing it on our land."

Swooping in like a wannabe Santa on his helicopter onto the beach - that he orchestrated the stealing of in 2004 via the Foreshore and Seabed Act - wouldn't have helped either. In the pre-Christmas rush of Treaty deals this type of protest was probably going to occur. It's right for the government to return land that is wrongly held - but not if it's to the wrong people. It seems to be a live issue in this case. What sort of integrity do these parties have and this agreement have after this incident? If things were done properly you would expect all iwi and hapu in the area to be blessing this deal and having confidence enough to sort out any contention through the process:

Agreement In Principle Between The Crown And The Kahukuraariki Trust Board:
Will overlapping groups be consulted on the Agreement in Principle? -
Yes. The Crown will be consulting with other Far North iwi whose interests overlap with those of Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa. The consultation process will give those groups an opportunity to discuss with Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa and the Crown any views they have about the proposed redress in the Agreement in Principle.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Peter Jackson vows Hobbit movie "will not be a musical!"

Leonard Nimoy cameo still possibility.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Imagine there's no borders...

Today, from Estonia and Finland it is now possible to travel overland to Portugal and Italy without stopping at a single border post thanks to the Schengen Agreement:
abolition of systematic border controls between the participating countries. Covering a population over 400 million and a total area of 4,268,633 km², it includes provisions on common policy on the temporary entry of persons (including the Schengen Visa), the harmonisation of external border controls, and cross-border police co-operation.

This is a massive advancement on the situation previously and shows a great level of trust in the competence of the EU countries who are now on the edge of the new European Union border. Overstayers will enjoy it most of all, but what a positive and ambitious project to have come about.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Yeah, I know...

David Farrar has some interesting thoughts on the Environment Ministry implosion. He does really seem to know just about everything that happens in Wellington.

So the regime dumps all the shit just before Christmas to start the new year unimpeded when no-one notices or has time to care. Mallard's groveling and multiple apologies divert away from more important issues like the Electoral laws, Police failure and disarray over Auckland's development. Labour have handled the timing of these self-inflicted crises as well as anyone can juggle a live grenade - but they still get blown up in the end if they don't extract the problem quickly. Speaking of which Benson-Pope got chucked, Maharey, the heir-apparent, bailed out, although Field lingers on and they still regularly use his vote. The remaining Labour leadership (and Anderton is included in that) will probably be desperate enough after the election to go into coalition with support parties on far better terms than previously. Their arrogance is at its height too, but self-preservation means a lot as after this they are at retirement and they will be retired if they loose. What will their legacy be?

National are ahead in the polls because of the cumulative effect of these failings. Expect to have it entrenched by some more nationalist cross-cultural symbolism from Key leading up to Waitangi. Next year's election could hang on leaked emails from National being spread hinting Nats will put interest back on Student Loans (?) - that issue more than anything else gave Labour the momentum to beat National last time - since Labour can't do that again they can argue that a National government would reverse it if they win. That could scare those people back.

US passes law to keep guns from mentally ill

alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
US passes law to keep guns from mentally ill
The US Congress, prodded by the deadliest shooting rampage in modern American history, has passed legislation to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Without objection, the Senate and House of Representatives approved the measure, which would bolster background checks for gun buyers, and sent it to President George W. Bush to sign. The measure would be the first major new US gun-control law since 1994. It was drafted after a gunman with a history of mental illness killed himself and 32 others in April at Virginia Tech University.

It takes now for America to ban the mentally ill from buying guns? How mentally ill could you have appeared previously in order to be able to buy a gun I wonder? How could something so obvious to any rational human being not have been made immediate law in gun loving America? Could their warped obsession with guns and the obscenely sensible sentencing trust-esk NRA be blinding them to the semi-automatic reality of a hyper paranoid aggression on crack in their ‘everyone-has-a-handgun’ country that their open sale of weapons to the public has created?

Slavery in America

alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
Slavery in America
Between December and May, Florida produces virtually the entire US crop of field-grown fresh tomatoes. Fruit picked here ends up on the shelves of supermarkets and is also served in the country's top restaurants and in tens of thousands of fast-food outlets.

But conditions in the state's fruit-picking industry range from straightforward exploitation to forced labour. Tens of thousands of men, women and children - excluded from the protection of America's employment laws and banned from unionising - work their fingers to the bone for rates of pay which have hardly budged in 30 years.

Only in America eh? Hundreds of years after slavery was supposedly banned, American’s xenophobic hatred for ‘illegals’ allows a thriving slavery trade to expand and take hold in a capitalist utopia of high prices, high demand and large numbers of exploited people with no rights. The system is purposely overlooked to keep it deregulated and none-unionized in order to keep the final cost as cheap as possible thus maximizing profits, there is something of an irony watching the hated and feared ‘illegals’ being enslaved to put huge amounts of cheap food that gets obscenely wasted onto the tables of an increasingly over weight America.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This won't be exhibited at Waiouru Army Museum

Because I was mentioning this just last week:

A 710-year-old manuscript of the Magna Carta, hailed as the "birth certificate of freedom," sold for a staggering £10.6million at a New York auction last night.

The single page of what is described as the most important document in the world ever to come to auction is 68 lines of text written in mediaeval Latin on parchment. It is one of only 17 still in existence, and was the only one in private hands.
It was bought by David Rubenstein of the Carlisle private equity group which plans to loan the document back to the National Archives in Washington.

-Daily Mail

The National Library in Australia has the only other copy of its type outside of Britain. NZ law has one operative clause left of the Magna Carta in effect by our Imperial Laws Application Act 1988 and it is:

XXXIX. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

Approval for mayor's boy racer ban

alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
Approval for mayor's boy racer ban
Boy racers will be banned from eight roads on Christchurch's northern and western fringes from this weekend after a special order from Mayor Bob Parker. Overwhelming public support has greeted Parker's plan to use an obscure piece of local government legislation to ban boy racers from danger spots.

Hmmmm, Sheriff Bob Parker rides into town with some secret new magical law he found under the Mayoral desk which simply sound like what the Police already have under their constabulary powers. The issue is to allow a place for all these kids to drift at, the problem for Christchurch boy racers is that a previous council did build a burn pad for them, but they didn’t use it so until that can be explained it’s stick time, no carrot.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club Awards 2007

Top 5 under the News Radar Award 2007
1: The ongoing agony in Somalia and the CIA blowback caused by backing first the Warlords against a nationalistic Islamic movement who brought stability to chaos, and once that faltered turned to backing Ethiopia invading Somalia. Once a puppet regime was put in place, America proceeded to blow up ‘terrorists’ based on ‘credible evidence’ who turned out to be civilians.

2: Oil legislation in Iraq to open the oil reserves for American companies to buy and profit immensely from

3: The death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in Australia – had his spleen ripped in half and died all because he was arrested for swearing, the white cop walks free (surprise –surprise)

4: The ramifications of Paul Bremer’s Order 17 and the privatization of war.

5: The continued bombings of civilians by NATO forces in Afghanistan – terrified to engage forces on the ground NATO bomb anything that moves including homes, wedding parties, funerals, in one case they bombed a funeral that was being held from people NATO had killed the day before.

Losers of the Year 2007 – The NZ Police Force
Police sanitizing poor recruit results, sadomasochistic gang sex get together with work mates, ninja cops invading Tuhoe, stumbling upon the dead body of woman in the boot of a car while they searched the house, police chases that end in death, allegations of police van bashings, questions over the Scot Watson conviction and missing evidence to look after mates all added up to as an Anus Horriblus for the boys in blue. They ended up dumping their ‘get better work stories’ adverts to ‘earn $50 000 a year’ recruitment adverts – the NZ Police have suffered an appalling year in social standing amongst a lot of NZers – and now they want tasers? How do the NZ Police recover from such an awful year?

The ‘Yee-ha’ is not a foreign policy award 2007
The start of the surge in Iraq, against all pragmatic advice from a massive range of voices in America, Bush decided to ‘surge’ more troops into Iraq to quell the abortion of invading in the first place based on weapon of mass destruction lies. The Iraqi Government shut off outside access to raw death figures from Hospitals and Morges and amazingly the death rate ‘plummets’ add to this the dubious American methodology (if an Iraqi is shot in the back of the head it is insurgency, but if they are shot in the front of the head it’s just normal crime so isn’t added to the figures) and we get paper evidence that the surge is ‘working’, despite the fact that millions have fled as refugees. What is the future of Iraq?

The 'can’t you do anything right' award 2007

The filming of Saddam’s execution at the beginning of the year where the American’s showed how little actual control they have on the ground in Iraq, as the world was shown video from a cell phone as his accusers jeered and mocked a man facing execution and ended up giving Saddam Hussein, a despicable tyrant and a man drenched with the blood of innocents, more dignity in his final moments than he ever deserved. Did that symbolically end up showing all that was going wrong for America in Iraq – despite the best ‘intentions’ reality on the ground keeps intruding?.

The Vladamir Putin Award for media freedom 2007
Labour trying to ban satire in the coverage of Parliament– was this just the latest warping of good sense from an arrogant Parliament this year, is it this arrogance that seeded the EFB?

I told you so award 2007

Keith Lock on the Terrorism Suppression Act, he told Parliament at the time it passed that the TSA was a pointless and stupid piece of legislation that could never be used in NZ and the Maori Party concluded that it would be used against Maori, should Keith feel chuffed?

Oh you aren’t a terrorist now Award 2007 (international)

Ahmed Zaoui – what an embarrassing climb down, 4 years after a poorly trained interrogation officer breathlessly told the world that Ahmed Zaoui had said ‘yes’ he was a member of a terrorist group, what Ahmed had actually said was ‘FIS’ the initials of his political party – from that moment onwards our stubborn SIS have tried to hold their ground while finding a way out. Should NZ be ashamed of the way this was handled?

Oh you aren’t a terrorist now Award 2007 (domestic)

The Urewera 17 (or 16 depending on how much distance you are trying to put between your movement and Jamie Locket) who dodged a bullet by falling short of any conspiracy threshold for the hopelessly flawed TSA but won few friends by getting high on their own supply and wanting to get their hands on sniper rifles with silences. What did we learn from this mess?

New Zealander of the Year 2007

David Bane, proving that even if you’re convicted of killing your entire family, someone in NZ will give you a fair go, he symbolizes that great NZ quality of ‘fairness’ and proves why the highest court in the land isn’t a Court of Appeal in a far away land, it is in fact Fair Go on TVNZ. Who else should have been recognized?

Politician of the Year 2007

Hone Harawira has that refreshing difference of being a politician who actually says what he thinks – calling John Howard a ‘racist bastard’, calling Police excuses for the Ruatoki raids ‘bullshit’ and going walkabout to see aboriginal communities shows Hone hasn’t left any of his principles as an activist. Who else should have been recognized?

Moral Panic Award 2007

Repealing a law that protects parents from assault charges against their children seemed like the last thing anyone would have a problem with, but apparently the passage of this bill would lead to a massive social breakdown, cats and dogs living together, innocent kiwi battler mums and dads were going to be arrested for hitting their children out of the way of oncoming cars. I ended up wanting to just hit parents who hit their kids, but that won’t help because hitting doesn’t work, you have to use timeout with parents who hit.

Endangered Species 2007
The Greens – Under their co-leader Dr Invisible, the Greens have plummeted in the last 2 months from 8% to 3.5% - what are they doing? How can a Green Party be doing so poorly in a post inconvenient truth world?

Christopher Columbus award for discovery 2007
The Underclass (15 000 kids go hungry each day) – apparently it was left to a $50 million conservative political leader, John Key, to discover the Underclass in NZ – those who haven’t done so well from Labour’s 7-year-property-speculation-middle-class-plasma-TV-orama beige rainbow of prosperity. Where have the underclass gone to now?

Story of the Year 2007 - Global Warming
As the worst case sceanrio fast becomes the most likely sceanrio, we are only now realizing how bad things really are.

Play it again Uncle Sam award 2007
George W Bush caught out lying about a report he saw in August saying that Iran had stopped their Nuclear Weapons program, yet for the past 3 months has done all he can to rattle up the war rhetoric and over playing the threat to the planet – just like Iraq. Bombing Iran – is it now off the table?

Mercury energy customer service pull the plug award 2007
Glaxoklinesmith for their appalling lies regarding the vitamin c levels in Ribena. Wasn’t it great that two wee NZ schoolgirls embarrassed a major global company?

Full and final

Cost of saying sorry to Aborigines may be billions:
Even A$1 billion would dwarf the $793.7 million in compensation awarded to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi settlements. The two largest of $170 million each were for Tainui and Ngai Tahu.

The Australians have a long way to go compared with this country as far as reconciliation and decolonisation go of course, but our efforts (to borrow Trevor Mallard's favourite expression) haven't been too flash either.

Take the last three Crown-Iwi agreements in the news over the last week:

Waikato River Agreement in Principle signed
Agreement in principle on Taranaki Whanui
Bill returns the title of Mauao to tangata whenua

They are part of the government's "final" settlement of "historical" Treaty of Waitangi related claims (for everything pre-1992). For the Iwi it is just one step in a wider process. Each generation of kaumatua who have seen the generations before them battle all their life and get nowhere - or next to nowhere - with the Crown must have an immense personal pressure from their people and the weight of history. It must be very tempting to sign something that is such a long time in coming.

What they are agreeing is a de facto peace treaty with the Crown - a pact that will bind both and define each other's role and the status of their respective property rights within an area. It concludes a period of Crown hostilities and dispute with the Iwi. The problem is that with these agreements, as with the ones in the past, it is unsatisfactory and unjust. These agreements put into statute by the parliament of the day at the behest of the government of the day are expedient fixes designed to placate the immediate demands of compensation by way of a cash payment to the group negotiating the deal on the one hand and a few symbolic changes in paperwork back to what they should have been in the first place on the other.

If you look at the Taranaki Whanui deal for example you'll see that amongst all the hoopla about getting millions in disused Crown land even an official in a department can veto that whole idea. There's a clause in there about having the bed of the lake returned but it cannot effect how it is used by others and the scientific reserve that it sits in is retained by the Crown. This is not serious. "See - we put your name in brackets here on the title deed - good eh?" And there's another clause about the Crown sending a letter to the airport company to introduce the Iwi and ask that they be included in some bullshit consultation committee - just padding to cover up the fact that they are pissing away their territorial, sovereign and property rights for some coin. It's cost the Iwi over $5 million costs already - and the government won't even say they'll pay the full amount of that either. You see how desperate they may become to settle if they have a huge legal bill - the Crown on the other hand has multi-billion dollar cash surpluses projected to continue ad infinitum.

I don't know all the details of these cases, but the Crown, the party that acknowledges its injustice in the past cannot then legislate that retrospectively it was all effectively and legally OK because now the victim has been duressed over decades into accepting the pittance on offer or else it would get nothing. That is what is happening here. The land-grabs, confiscation and swindles of the past are being legalised with these bills. The Crown is getting pretty much everything its own way - that is what happens when you "negotiate" with a party that can do anything it wants unrestrained by the judicial system. Any deal coming out of that process is highly questionable and will always be tainted.

Small parties most vocal about bill

alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
Small parties most vocal about bill
The small parties took centre-stage in Parliament yesterday after months of words from the major parties as the Electoral Finance Bill passed into law after more acrimonious debate. The debate featured a surprise u-turn in support from United Future's Peter Dunne, who said opposition to the bill was at the point where "the average citizen" felt affronted by the law and it was now pointless to try to persuade them otherwise. While Labour continued with its attacks on National and the Exclusive Brethren campaign of 2005, and National accused Labour of acting in "blatant self-interest", the hardest-hitting speech was from Hone Harawira of the Maori Party, whose opposition has gone almost unnoticed in the debates so far. Mr Harawira criticised Labour of arrogance for continuing with the law despite opposition to it, and said it was not attacked only by rich right-wingers - it was also opposed by the Maori Party "with not a bean to our name". Mr Harawira described the law as "fleabitten" and motivated by "the sweet scent of power ... and the refusal to accept the reality of impending defeat. "We will not be party to a bill designed to put fear into those who would speak their mind, by forcing them to run the gauntlet of registration, audit, notification, financial agents, monitoring, reporting, scrutiny and penalty." He said the Maori Party were "horrified" by secret trusts and the amounts spent on campaigns by the major parties in elections, "but I can't help but smell the filthy stench of hypocrisy from the Labour Party in this attack on the Brethren".

Hone is the 2007 Politician of the year for the Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club and he once again proves why, his ability to strip down the debate and speak unvarnished truth makes him a rare voice of reasoned passion. Yes there are concerns with money buying elections and yes we need restrictions from paid speech, but the self interest that fuels this legislation doesn’t make it the righteous and pious law Labour are pretending it is.

Let the whales live

alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
Let the whales live
A national campaign to halt the slaughter of more than a thousand whales in the Southern Ocean has been launched by The Dominion Post. Sparks flew yesterday when editor Tim Pankhurst kick-started the newspaper's campaign with an attempt to deliver a letter to Japan's ambassador to New Zealand, Toshihiro Takahashi, calling for the cessation of its annual whaling campaign. Mr Takahashi was unavailable to accept the letter, but moments after handing the correspondence to an embassy official and explaining the campaign, Mr Pankhurst and three editorial staff were ejected from the embassy's Wellington headquarters by security staff, who objected to the taking of video and photos. Police were called to the incident but no action was taken. Mr Pankhurst said the Japanese Government and the people it represented were on a collision course with Australia and New Zealand over whaling. "It is time to up the ante," he said. "Japan must be left in no doubt their actions in the Southern Ocean are deeply offensive and must be resisted on every possible front."

Isn’t it funny that this type of leadership isn’t coming from any of our political leaders, but it’s coming from the Dominion Post. Tim Pankhurst is right, the only reason the Japanese are getting away with slaughtering whales is because no one is kicking up enough of a fuss and letting the Japanese know that such action damages their relationship with not only our region, but globally. Part of the problem is that because Japan is such an insular country where most people don’t speak English, the vast majority of Japanese citizens have no idea what we are yelling at.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Labour's danse de la vie

All before Christmas:

  • Cullen announces personal tax cuts

  • Mallard convicted of fighting

  • Electoral Finance Bill passed (63-57: United Future switched to oppose it)

  • Not so strong now?

    Perhaps our friends in the Communist Party of China aren't as rich as they thought?

    China's economic muscle 'shrinks'
    China's economy, the world's second largest, is not as big as was thought, a report by the World Bank has claimed.
    According to the bank, previous calculations have overestimated the size of China's economy by about 40%. The revelation came after the bank updated the way it calculated the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The bank said the findings meant China would not become the world's biggest economy in 2012 as forecast. It also meant China was poorer than estimated. This in turn would influence future aid and investment plans, the World Bank said. China gains extra aid from international institutions and has asked for help in climate change talks because of its status as a developing country. Based on the World Bank's new research, China's economy is now worth some $5.33 trillion (£2.64trillion). Despite the drop in size, the economy was still the world's second largest, the bank said. The US, at $12 trillion, is the world's largest economy.

    And then there is the stock exchange...

    Is China's stock rally about to burst?
    The bull that stands outside the Shanghai stock exchange could not be more apt. Market bulls believe stock prices will continue to rise The Chinese market has almost tripled in value this year as investors clamour for a slice of the world's fastest growing economy. And if the shares of PetroChina soar when it lists in Shanghai next week, there's a chance the Chinese oil giant could become the world's most valuable quoted company, stealing the crown from ExxonMobil. For some, this is a natural extension of China's economic rise. For others, it's evidence of a massive stock market bubble that parallels the height of the dotcom boom. Too hot? China's market is displaying many of the classic warning signs of a bubble. Cab drivers, college kids and Buddhist monks are making small fortunes in a frenzy of "chao gu" or stir frying stocks - Chinese slang for trading. Internet chatrooms are abuzz with investment tips and reports say that millions of stock trading accounts are being opened each month. Investment guru Warren Buffett, who recently sold his Hong Kong-listed PetroChina shares for a huge profit, warned last week that China is too hot to buy. By most conventional yardsticks, valuations of many of China's largest shares do look stretched. China's main stock index trades at more than 50 times projected earnings of the companies listed on it, almost triple that of major European and US stock markets.

    Saudi king 'pardons rape victim'

    alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
    Saudi king 'pardons rape victim'
    The Saudi king has pardoned a female rape victim sentenced to jail and 200 lashes for being alone with a man raped in the same attack, reports say. The "Qatif girl" case caused an international outcry with widespread criticism of the Saudi justice system. The male and female victims were in a car together when they were abducted and raped by seven attackers, who were given jail sentences up to nine years. Press reports say King Abdullah's move did not mean the sentence was wrong.

    I’m sorry – what? The pardon doesn’t mean the sentence was wrong? The sentence that shows womens rights are so degraded in Saudi Arabia that a women (after appeal let’s not forget) was seriously going to be imprisoned and then given 200 lashes because she was in a car with someone she wasn’t related to when they were gang raped????????????????? Oh. My. God. Why are our troops in Afghanistan? Doesn’t it sound like they are needed more in Saudi Arabia? Oh that’s right, these are the crazy fundamentalist Muslims WHO SELL US OIL, oh sorry, let’s go find some poor weak ones who have no oil to bomb and claim it’s all for freedom and democracy.

    More NZ troops may face Taliban

    alt tv/fleet fm breakfast news comment
    More NZ troops may face Taliban
    More New Zealand troops could be sent to Afghanistan in the face of a growing Taliban insurgency, a move that could lead to a change in their rules of engagement. Joint Forces Commander Major General Rhys Jones said yesterday the threat in Bamyan province was increasing, with a greater risk of suicide bombings and attacks on infrastructure. General Jones said the instability could prompt a "changing role, from human assistance to security and stability". The Government said that would be considered by the Cabinet.

    Hold on – so we are now fighting a war in Afghanistan are we? Put up your hands if you agreed for NZ to be in a deeply dubious war which we invaded because supposedly Bin Laden was living there when America’s intention was always to invade Iraq based on a pack of lies. Not many of us really agreed to that did we? Don’t our soldiers deserve more than being asked to fight in pointless wars created for very dubious reasons?

    Rising seas 'to beat predictions'

    Alt tv/Fleet fm breakfast news comment
    Rising seas 'to beat predictions'
    The world's sea levels could rise twice as high this century as UN climate scientists have previously predicted, according to a study. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes a maximum sea level rise of 81cm (32in) this century. But in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers say the true maximum could be about twice that: 163cm (64in). They looked at what happened more than 100,000 years ago - the last time Earth was this warm.

    Here is the drill – the effects of global warming are happening expedientialy faster than anyone guessed, human beings have experienced stable weather since we crept out of caves so the idea that our weather patterns could change abruptly and catastrophically is just not part of our understanding of the natural world, just like how scientists didn’t used to think meteors hitting the planet could cause any damage. The reality is that things are changing now and we have about 100 months left to change or else.