Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Pomp and Circumstance

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  • Tomorrowpeople,

    Um, anybody see the irony in Hide driving an 'environmentally friendly' SMART car around?
    Surely that would signal some kind of acknowledgment of 'green awareness'?

    Or, maybe it's just a question of size.
    You know what they say = big car, small pee pee.
    Little car = big wanger - and we all know Rodney has a super gigantic one right?

    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Some good context by Finlay McDonald about his generation taking charge (woohoo - url working already):

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartimes/4761334a22678.html

    How the times shaped us as we grew to adulthood and now take our turn at the tiller isn't a science, but it might help explain the priorities, values and blind spots we bring with us to that moment.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I'm just wondering how long it will be before the RMA is replaced with the RPMA: the "Raping the Planet for Money" Act.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    I let out a muffled 'yahoo' on Sunday morning (as my family were asleep) as I read that National was reviewing the ETS. At last some sense and impartiality into this debate. I don't think we should be at all afraid of the terms of reference for the review. Assessing the quality and impartiality of sources is a great idea. But I guess that depends on who is assessing it.

    I am totally prepared to accept the possibility of anthropomorhic climate change if it can be proved. By the way, Russell, you again use the 'deniers' tag for people like me. Please don't seek to close down the debate just yet by continually giving us negative labels. There is a lot at stake here.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The negative impacts on trade and our role in international diplomacy (beyond just climate too) would be significant if we were to jump out of Kyoto

    And I am with you Gareth in hoping professional advisors make that point. Inviting punitive trade tariffs just doesn't seem like a smart economic move.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I am totally prepared to accept the possibility of anthropomorhic climate change if it can be proved

    Andrew, what would constitute proof for you?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Proof is in the eye of the beholder, or in most cases with this debate, whoever funded the latest study. I see Gareth Morgan has dedicated a chunk of his cash to funding an "impartial" analysis of the worldwide evidence for climate warming. The only real proof is if we get toasted to cinders in an increasing hot world. In the meantime, I think that basic logic says that if you keep pumping out pollutants at the rate we are, then something is going to happen. Picture a burning pot of goo in your kitchen with the doors closed but one window open.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Smart move, having reviews chaired by the private sector so they can be blamed for unpopular decisions.

    And it lets you hand out even more pork to your business mates!

    The first thing they should be looking at is why the government is creating a whole parallel bureaucracy outside the public service (and so not covered by the usual norms of the public service - professionalism and neutrality amon them), paid at consultants inflated rates.

    But somehow, I doubt it...

    ( isense a rich vein to be mined here should anyone want tohave fun with the OIA...)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't think it's entirely against public interests to allow a drunk on TV. If they're fully prepared to get drunk for such a big event, what's wrong with us knowing that? Furthermore the guy says that it wasn't the drink talking anyway. Maybe it wasn't, and maybe that is how his brain does actually work.

    I think Hide likes the name of the SMART car, and the environmental friendliness is probably taking second fiddle to the fuel economy in his mind. I don't want to even think about it's relationship to his whanger. The whole "big car = small dick" seems to come more from the small car fraternities than the big dick ones. The only thing I think can safely be said is that changing the size of your car will definitely not give your wife 'more lasting s@t1sf@ct10n' or you 'huge volume'.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    creating a whole parallel bureaucracy outside the public service

    By contrast, I have heard somewhere in the last week (can't remember where) that one way to save money now without axing existing public servants would be to force them to take on much of the work currently contracted out to consultants. Might free up a few bacon-eaters for these review roles..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Almost nothing has been said about the potential programme for the Minister of Local Government... and what National will permit them to do. Probably because few care about councils and they often make a good whipping boy.

    This is fairly depressing considering the huge impact that local government makes upon most peoples' lives... in some regards, greater than the impact of central government.

    The National manefesto is almost silent on local government, notwithstanding the RMA, but the ACT policy is more detailed:

    • Local government will be required to shed its commercial activity, thereby eliminating the need to separate regulatory and commercial functions between local and regional councils.
    • Roads and piped water will be supplied on a fully commercial basis.
    • Abolish the local government power of general competency.
    • Require councils to focus on their core functions.
    • Ensure there is much greater scrutiny of regulations that undermine property rights.
    • Promote contracting out of many council services.
    • Lower the cost of complying with the Resource Management Act and other regulatory regimes.
    • Review the two-tier structure of local government.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 173 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Hill,

    I let out a muffled 'yahoo' on Sunday morning (as my family were asleep) as I read that National was reviewing the ETS. At last some sense and impartiality into this debate. I don't think we should be at all afraid of the terms of reference for the review. Assessing the quality and impartiality of sources is a great idea. But I guess that depends on who is assessing it.

    I am totally prepared to accept the possibility of anthropomorhic climate change if it can be proved.

    Andrew - it has already been done in four huge Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. The change is real and it is happening now. If we really want to bankrupt the country the government could try and go through the whole IPCC process again I suppose. Seems a bit silly when the reports are downloadable for nothing from here.

    I recommend Gareth Renowden's website (and book) Hot Topic for an approachable and New Zealand focused examination of the issues. The site contains links to the really heavy duty stuff for those who are interested in learning more ... and a nice Nov 16th blog piece on the Agreement on Climate Policy which ends ...

    It looks very much like the current framework of policy on climate change is about to be dismantled, and that John Key has failed his first test as prime minister - before he’s been sworn in

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2008 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The far right are stupid to attack the science of climate change. If they do it the least bit honestly, they're only going to find that the overwhelming majority of evidence is FOR humans affecting climate. The real questions, their real points of leverage are "Should anything be done about it?" and "What can be done about it?". These are the political/moral questions.

    There is definitely a case to answer about whether NZ being the only country to do anything about it is sensible. Even if the majority of countries are doing something, but the major polluters are not, there's still a case to answer.

    The question of what to do about climate change is even more open. It doesn't seem to me that the world economy is the least bit geared to actually fix the problem, since 'growth' is the primary factor in capitalism, and growth always necessitates more resource usage.

    I do feel that if anything is going to save humanity on this score, it will be technology rather than our ability to organize ourselves, since we have a proven track record in technology, and a proven track record of failure in any self organization that involves self-sacrifice. But I would love to be proven wrong on this, and certainly putting brakes on growth won't screw the system.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Promote contracting out of many council services.

    Well that answers the question of where the rest of the displaced consultants would go..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    This is fairly depressing considering the huge impact that local government makes upon most peoples' lives.

    Uh, yeah. I was a little shocked when I heard that ACT had been handed that Ministry. There's an awful lot of damage that they can do there, and unfortunately simmering resentment over rates increases may give them a leg-up with public opinion, at least initially.

    That list of bullet points really does bring home what a dangerously self-entitled bunch of cultists ACT really are, doesn't it? God, people, put that copy of Atlas Shrugged down before you hurt someone with it, OK?

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Roads and piped water will be supplied on a fully commercial basis

    Privatise the roads? - can't see that one going down well with moderate National voters. I suppose we need to see how these extreme positions (including climate change) get diluted during negotiation.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    simmering resentment over rates increases may give them a leg-up with public opinion

    Caleb, I'd say you're dead right. Hide said on Nine to Noon this morning (stream, download) that he wanted to be seen as the Minister for Ratepayers.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    piped water will be supplied on a fully commercial basis

    Does that mean there will be free public ponds from which to draw water from if you don't have access to the piped kind?

    how deliciously third world!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just added this PS: to the main post ...

    Media7 this week looks at the reporting we're not getting about Afghanistan. And it's more of a story for us than you might think. On Pundit, David Beatson has written some very interesting stuff based on his OIA requests about New Zealand troops handing over captives to US forces in possible breach of the Geneva Conventions, and on the lack of any end in sight to the longest foreign deployment -- seven years -- in our history. He's on the panel, along with Tim Watkin and Damian Christie (who, you may recall, got to Afghanistan under his own steam last year).

    If you'd like to join us for the recording at The Classic tomorrow evening, hit reply and let me know asap.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18503 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Thomas,

    "What ‘income gap’ are they talking about? GDP per capita or wages or what?" It's not a goal, it's a pamphlet.

    The important part of the support agreement isn't necessarily the goal - it's the agreed stipulation that to reach that goal (however vague) requires productivity growth of 3% per year. Productivity growth (however you feel about the idea) is an indicator that has an agreed measure currently - so it provides a kind of KPI for government.

    I would posit this is actually a new step for a supply arrangement, that at the very least will be interesting to observe in practice. (Not least for the opposition holding government to account.)

    And note also the following paragraph about annual reporting on that target, which means it will be harder to shelve if it's looking difficult to achieve (as per some of Clark's loftier vision statements).

    I won't link-whore, but there's a piece on the NBR site expanding on this for anyone interested.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I am totally prepared to accept the possibility of anthropomorhic climate change if it can be proved. By the way, Russell, you again use the 'deniers' tag for people like me. Please don't seek to close down the debate just yet by continually giving us negative labels. There is a lot at stake here.

    I've said before that I see parallels between the fringes of climate denial and the fringes of the anti-GE lobby a few years ago. When you start exploring it, you see the same phenomenon of disingenuous citations, revolving factoids that circulate long after they have been debunked, and politics trumping science.

    When the overwhelming majority of competent scientists and the science academies of all the major countries line up behind a theory of anthropogenic climate change, I take the view that I'd be a fool to disagree. The contrary view requires a belief that those people are in conspiracy against the rest of us.

    And every time someone points to one of those lists of disssenting scientists -- which includes, among other things, the hosts of TV gardening programmes -- that view is reinforced.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18503 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    ... see Australia as a benchmark

    Isn't that setting our sights a bit low? Wouldn't Britain, Switzerland or Saudi Arabia be a better benchmark, they're way richer than the Aussies?

    I'm sure that with ACTs superior faith-based science policy we should find that oil off the Kermadecs within the next few years.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yeah what did happen to Afghanistan? And Bin Laden, for that matter. Western involvement there is starting to look like the old colonial days when no one back home even knew or cared what was going on. Real Heart of Darkness stuff, entering into the conflict-zone Third World must be like falling down a rabbit hole for anyone crazy enough to want to. I hope we don't find that our special forces are all AWOL and gone bush, sending back just enough ivory, ooops I mean captives, to keep the folks back home from wanting to come down and check it out. The Horror.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And every time someone points to one of those lists of disssenting scientists -- which includes, among other things, the hosts of TV gardening programmes -- that view is reinforced.

    But Russell, last year my roses wilted under the heat, and this year, growing strong and not going brown fast at all. And my veges, let me tell you.

    Clearly, climate change is a myth.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Rose-wilting heat in Dunedin last year? Unprecedented! This year though there's been lots of snow around so clearly global warming is a myth.

    Hide is parrots the most primitive denialist talking points (or "factoids" as Russell terms them) and is, frankly, an ass when it comes to this topic. No net warming since 1998 indeed.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

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