Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: The Greening,

    1/ What happens to all those plastic milk bottles that go out every Tuesday in Kingsland for recycling? Some say they just get sent to the land fill, others say they are chopped up and sent to fuel China's thermal power stations.

    I think that's a myth, but plastic recycling certainly ain't all it's cracked up to be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Greening,

    I thought that supermarket plastic bags were already biodegradable. My problem is, if they're phased out, what will I line my kitchen rubbish bin with? Will I have to buy custom made bin liners?

    I gather that when there was a project to cut back on single-use plastic bags in Ireland, bin-liner sales jumped 400%.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Radiation: Sci-fi high,

    __That’s if you haven’t already downloaded it from teh internets, put it on a flash drive and played it on your 32-inch widescreen LCD TV via your PS3.__

    Or made use of the excellent TVersity software and streamed it "live" over wifi straight off your puter through PS3 to TV. Take THAT flash drives...

    And if you're still, like, watching TV -- commit yourself to the new season of Doctor Who from Sunday. It is teh awesome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Radiation: Sci-fi high,

    Yup: there wasn't even a plausible explanation for Zack's fall into the dark side. The Master's apparently impeccable logic was undone in about 30 seconds and Zack just sort of went "oh, okay ..." and told them where to find the bad guy, who turned out to be just some guy.

    It really was "shit! how fast can we get out of this lame story arc!?"

    One thing I'll miss: watching Bones in HD on the Freeview box. Most of TV3's HD offerings aren't to my taste, but that was good enough to lick.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Mood,

    The odiousness of Slater is unbelievable. David almost certainly has cleaner hands than him, but I still find it remarkable that he continues to have any association with him.

    I've been wondering about this. Slater's misogyny is so weird and so constant I wonder if he has a personality disorder. His posts (and, in particular, one he linked to) on the England rugby team allegations were simply vile. Ditto his repeated online comments about a woman standing for Labour in this election.

    And banal, too. Many winger bloggers appear to be trapped in an arrested adolescence: Slater is trapped at puberty.

    And yet, as you say, people are happy to buddy up with him. You may have noticed that Bridget Saunders is now channelling his "tips" in her gossip pages. Perhaps someone should ask her about the company she keeps.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Mood,

    Hmm, the same North Shoreans who ...

    Yeah, those ones.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Mood,

    How about misleading the House last Wednesday about his actions in 2002 and 2003, is that within the jurisdiction of the Privileges Committee?

    Craig, I didn't approve of what Clark did last week -- not least because she got at least part of it wrong.

    But I'm more exercised, to be honest, by Key's cynical implication that someone in the Parliamentary Service is corrupt, to try and divert attention from the more obvious conclusion that someone in __his__organisation is leaking stuff to Nicky Hager.

    And Key was, quite clearly, making shit up about Sparc. In both cases his targets weren't part of the political hurly-burly, but people for whom it is hard to defend themselves. So I don't see that he really has the moral high ground.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Mood,

    Perceptive column by Colin james on the meaning of the truckies' strike and all:

    Why did so many people back Muldoon-era minister Tony Friedlander's striking truck drivers even though it is better for them that truck companies pay a bigger share of the cost of roads? Because the truckers were giving the fingers to the Government.

    Large numbers of people are now doing the same or would like to. They automatically blame the Government, regardless of whether the object of their grump is the Government's fault. How else could National get away with its gross exaggeration of the increase in education administrators and obtuseness over regulation of hairdressers?

    The result is that where there is a call for strong leadership on hard choices, the Government can no longer provide it.

    In part, this predicament is of the Government's own making: its cautious, often placatory style, its concentration in its early years, when it had great authority, on rebalancing the economic and social priorities and its consequential focus more on past battles than future prospects and so its failure convincingly to depict a future New Zealand.

    But that alone could not account for public approval of the truckers' wrecking action. Much of the Government's predicament is not of its making. It is the sliding economy. Profligate with debt and besieged by crazy world fuel and food prices, householders want someone else to blame now the bill has to be paid.

    The Government's loss of authority will be visited upon it at election time. But that will not remove the hard policy choices.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Mood,

    The Truckathon: Popular support because they expressed our disenchantment without us having to even leave the house or workplace. It doesn't mean everyone thinks trucks shouldn't pay their fair whack. it was the blind, bossy push to impose another tax right when everyone's feeling the pinch that ticked everyone off.

    Sigh ... but it wasn't "another tax". It was the way that heavy trucks have been supposed to pay their way on the road for decades. The increase is less (half?) than that recommended by the Ministry of Transport.

    Don't you think you might have been spun into the "blind, bossy" part by a very able PR campaign?

    The Bradford Bill seemed like a hasty "must do something" response to the Kahui killings and all the other horrors that outraged the nation. Yet no-one's been convicted for the twins' historical abuse, let alone murder. Feels alot like everybody gets clobbered, while the real baddies just carry on regardless. That's what really gets on the national wick.

    Where do I start?

    The sole reason that the bill came before the House was that Sue Bradford's bill came up in the members' bill lottery in 2005. The government had to make a decision then, but it's completely wrong to depict it as something like the home invasion law that National bodged into law in 1999.

    It was never intended as a direct response to the Kahui killings (which took place a year after the bill came out of the ballot). And how on earth is it the government's fault that a jury couldn't convict in one case? That doesn't make any sense.

    Thanks for the insight, Kerry, but that all seems more irrational than ever to me.

    As for Labour, i never liked W4F, tax cuts then would have worked much better. They couldn't just cough up with the money, they had to make political capital out of it and paint themselves as family-friendly.

    Fair enough: I thought at the time of the 05 election they should simply have readjusted the top tax brackets and targeted WFF at the lower income end; although neither would have made a huge difference to our house. They blew tax policy at that time.

    But consider, Kerry, the dramatic improvement in child poverty statistics in recent years. That was high employment and WFF, and it should be delivering social benefit for the rest of those kids' lives.

    Funny, though, Cullen's surplus strategy looks rather sound in present circumstances.

    In terms of the state of the government's books, absolutely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Mood,

    RB, do you really think if Clark had replaced most of the front bench then, but leaving Cullen there, and brought in the anti-smacking bill etc, things would be different now? I don't think so.

    Except that they didn't "bring in the anti-smacking bill"; it was Sue Bradford's private member's bill, and, as I noted, it eventually won overwhelming support in the House. I know that's not what people think, but it is what happened.

    The Herald editorial today cited it too:

    Nobody should be surprised, or particularly outraged, if the consultants have schooled National to avoid the subject. If they are astute, they will also ensure the party does not rule it out. Once in office, parties invariably do things in the public interest that would not be popular in an election campaign. Labour gave no hint at the last election that it was going to ban smacking or smother political speech with financial restrictions and red tape.

    It is naive to imagine election campaigns are candid affairs. Voters have to keep a keen ear to what the campaigns are not saying as much as what they choose to say. Assessments have to be made on inference, intuition, common sense and trust, as well as the performance of the protagonists under criticism and constant public scrutiny for several intense weeks.

    This is disingenuous. Labour "gave no hint" it was to "ban smacking" because it had no policy to. It made a decision, as, eventually, did most of the House, to support a Green MP's member's bill.

    And it did, directly after the 2005 election (and even in the latter stages of the campaign), undertake to address what it regarded as undemocratic influences on the election process. What it neglected to say was what a pig's arse it was going to make out of the job.

    Neither of those is the same as knowing full well what your policy is, but refusing to divulge it in case people don't vote for you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19858 posts Report Reply

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