Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Madness in Mt Albert

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  • simon g,

    Shearer should just issue a simple press release:

    "After spending many years in hell holes from Somalia to Iraq, I would be happy to discuss peacekeeping options with Duncan Garner, David Farrar, John Key or anyone else. On site."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Thanks. Posts like that warm my heart. I'm so glad that I stopped watching TV and TV news coverage specifically. After reading that post, I can't imagine why anyone watches TV news willingly.

    As my good friend from the former Yugoslavia once said, "In Yugoslavia we knew news was bullshit. Here, people watch think is real".

    How old is Duncan Garner anyway? And Jesse Peach? I know there are no child labour laws in New Zealand but they seem to be pushing things.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Despite the risk of derailing this discussion before it even gets started, is this a great day for mankind/womanhood? According to the Daily Telegraph, the Queen just sent her first email!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2288 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    According to the Daily Telegraph, the Queen just sent her first email!

    And John Key sent his first tweet!

    They even took a photo to prove that it did happen: http://twitpic.com/46its

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1851 posts Report Reply

  • Judy Callingham,

    This whole thing is getting out of hand. It’s not only the left and right hurling brickbats at the candidates for selection, it’s happening amongst Labour supporters as well. Two of the nominees are coming in for some particularly vicious clobbering. David Shearer is portrayed as a) a major prize for the party, a man of talent and experience and b) a Methuselah-like alien who’s never set foot in Auckland. Meg Bates is either a) a clever political scientist with extraordinary Labour credentials and b) a cotton-wooled bluestocking, barely out of school uniform. In fact both of them would be excellent additions to the Parliament; both of them will almost certainly be there in a couple of years. My concern is that the vicious invective, particularly from the blogs, will sicken both of them to the extent that they wash their hands of practical politics and head back to their very successful careers. That would be a loss, and not only to the Labour Party.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2009 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    Oh to be in the Classic's bar after this week's Media 7 is in the can :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Do his arguments conflict with the stance New Zealand took in passing the Mercenary Activities (Prohibition) Act 2004, which his friend and then Justice minister Phil Goff described at the time as a blow against "paid murder"? Well, yes. But there is no indication that, as an MP, he would seek to change the act. And it seems cloddish to hang him for having discussed policy in a policy journal.

    And here's what I don't get. One might think the rational response from Annette King would be to say that Labour does not support the privatised outsourcing of UN peacekeeping activites, and while Shearer's input is welcome newbie backbenchers don't write policy. End of story.

    Instead we got National begins dirty tricks campaign in Mt Albert.

    “National has trawled through research papers written by David Shearer dating back to 1998.

    Well, if that's a "dirty trick" I expect Don Brash is going to get an apology from "Labour" (i.e. anyone to the left of Milton Friedman) because the moment he entered politics, his considerable paper trail went under the proverbial fine tooth comb. Which, substance aside, sounds a lot like a matter of legitimate public interest.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • DPF,

    I have praised Shearer for his work around the globe - "David has a massive amount of respect for his aid work over the last two decades. And not as an administrator, but actually out there on the front lines making a huge difference to the life of many people." I think it is because he has seen first hand the suffering, that he is prepared to throw away ideology and support a role for private mercenary armies in protecting people. I don't think he is far right - I wish we had more MPs like him in Labour.

    Of course it will be very very difficult for Labour to harp on about privatisation when one if their new MPs has advocated the use of the private sector in the most core of government functions - the military.

    And it does beg the questions, if you agree with Shearer that the private sector can be used in armed conflicts (so long as it provides a better outcome than using the public sector), why would you not apply the same test to Corrections?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    This seems like a pretty easy hit for Labour to knock out of the ball park - David Shearer supports the use of private sector solutions in conflict zones and disaster areas in which there is no available government infrastructure; that is not a description of New Zealand although after a few more years of the National government it may well be.

    Instead we get them crying about dirty tricks and smear campaigns. Weak.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    ... that might also be said of National's list, given that a victory in Mt Albert for Melissa Lee would bring back Cam Calder on its list. No one's heart would race at that prospect.

    "Back"?

    Because he's a long-serving now former MP who lost re-election, and whose political zenith is behind him?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I don't think he is far right - I wish we had more MPs like him in Labour.

    Oh, don't be so disingenuous. You proposed that he'd be a good catch for Act!

    Of course it will be very very difficult for Labour to harp on about privatisation when one if their new MPs has advocated the use of the private sector in the most core of government functions - the military.

    And David, it suits you to try and make the connection, but no one but John Key has talked about privatising our national army or anyone else's. You know quite that that's not what the articles were about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And sorry for the threadjack, but when it comes to crazy politics, Mt. Albert has nothing on Capitol Hill.

    Obama got one hell of a 100th day anniversary present

    Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch parties and run for reelection in November 2010 as a Democrat, he announced today, a decision that could have wide-ranging consequences for the Senate and President Obama's agenda.

    Fox's ever classy headline "Specter comes out of the closet". Sigh...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This seems like a pretty easy hit for Labour to knock out of the ball park ... Instead we get them crying about dirty tricks and smear campaigns. Weak.

    I agree. There are any number of responses that would turn the tables on this, but they didn't do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Of course it will be very very difficult for Labour to harp on about privatisation when one if their new MPs has advocated the use of the private sector in the most core of government functions - the military.

    I think taking any argument for private military in a civil war hell hole, and saying that it's an argument for private military (or private anything) in New Zealand is... well silly.

    I'm in favour of fully funded by the taxpayer tertiary education for all in New Zealand. Should you take that as what I'd do if I became King of some civil war ravaged African country? Nope.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    DPF

    It doesn't beg any of those questions, and you are far too smart to think that it does. I doubt that the Electoral Act would work in Iraq, or Section 59 in Rwanda, or the RMA in Gaza.

    Nobody with an ounce of awareness would equate NZ's domestic politics with responses to human catastrophes. But you know all this and must have your fun, I suppose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    You know quite that that's not what the articles were about.

    You might be flattering Mr Farrar there. I keep hearing how it's the comments section that supposedly drags his blog down, but honestly whenever he gets linked to from here it's another mediocre analysis or moment of hackery.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And David, it suits you to try and make the connection, but no one but John Key has talked about privatising our national army or anyone else's. You know quite that that's not what the articles were about.

    Labour, and many others assert that National wants to privatise ACC. National says that ACC will be government-owned, but that it will be opened up to competition. I think the argument is quite strong that, even though there is absolutely no intention to sell the ACC, that opening up workplace accident insurance to the private sector - which will mean that a service previously provided by the Government will now be provided by the private sector - is privatisation.

    In the past, the UN has tried to arrange peacekeeping forces by raising troops from national armies. New Zealand occassionally provides soldiers to these efforts. If instead of sending our army in the future we were to send cash which was used to purchase private military services, I'd have no problem with calling this privatisation. A service which used to provided by the Government is now provided by the private sector - just as if the Government paid someone in the private sector to manage a new prison.

    Just because we still have an army, or just because we still have the same number of public prisons as we ever did, would not mean that there isn't privatisation.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • DPF,

    I don't regard ACT as far right. Remember ACT came from Labour and Phil Goff and Annette King were very loyal lieutenants to Roger Douglas.

    And Russell - considering Labour label anything that involves using the private sector as "privatisation" you can hardly complain when Key does exactly what Labour has done hundreds of times. Instead of a sensible debate about competition in workplace accident insurance we hear every day about privatising ACC as if it was to be sold off to the private sector.

    I would welcome a climate where greater use of the private sector can be debated without cries of privatisation. But Labour keep referring to privatising prisons for example also.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just because we still have an army, or just because we still have the same number of public prisons as we ever did, would not mean that there isn't privatisation.

    Graeme, if I wasn't a bit busy, I'd try and come up with a more contemporary military analogy for "drawing a long bow" ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    And it does beg the questions, if you agree with Shearer that the private sector can be used in armed conflicts (so long as it provides a better outcome than using the public sector), why would you not apply the same test to Corrections?

    This is a stretch if not a false equivalence; managing the incarceration of criminals is not comparable to intervening in failed states.

    I agree with Judy Callingham's comments upthread. From what little I know of Bates and Shearer, both would be excellent additions to a renewed Labour caucus. Shearer's experience overseas compares favourably with the experience Groser bought to National. Bates would complement the younger cohort recently elected.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2215 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    Graeme may be able to draw a valid distinction, but the way that Labour use "privatisation" reduce it to the status of an epithet, or a dog-whistle that attempts to call forth the usual class envy and tired "rick prick" meme.

    It is tiresome and does much to devalue informed discussion and debate.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Instead of a sensible debate about competition in workplace accident insurance we hear every day about privatising ACC as if it was to be sold off to the private sector.

    Umm, yeah, like last time? Have you forgotten that six months in 1999 when ACC was partially privatised?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2215 posts Report Reply

  • Conrad Lake,

    Actually Melissa Lee winning Mt. Albert would not see Cam Calder come back. The number of list MPs allocated to National falls since they now have an extra electorate MP.

    CHCH • Since Apr 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Graeme may be able to draw a valid distinction, but the way that Labour use "privatisation" reduce it to the status of an epithet, or a dog-whistle that attempts to call forth the usual class envy and tired "rick prick" meme.

    That's an interesting example. Cullen uttered the phrase once in a moment he presumably regrets. All other uses have been by his political opponents and right-wing bloggers. If it's really a "meme", it's hardly one of Labour's making.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Having now read Graeme's post on privatisation and ACC, I see the point he and David are making - competition vs. ownership.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2215 posts Report Reply

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