Posts by izogi

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    you need odd numbers on a committee to avoid deadlock and thus couldn’t just make forward assumptions about how many parties would be in any future Parliament.

    The way the law’s written does seem in some ways to be much more of an FPP-style, though. I get why Andrew Little wants to bring in David Shrearer as the only nomination he’s allowed, and who’s probably better suited than himself. But if Labour can already push Shearer as its trusted representative, does Andrew Little himself really need to be there for adequate oversight if another party can provide someone better?

    The only reason I can see for doing this, besides some kind of vacuous political statement about Labour Party importance over alternatives is that legal requirement which states the Leader of he Opposition must be there (so of course he has to be!).

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Shearer does have the background for the role, more so than anyone in the Green caucus. But it does breach an informal (albeit fairly recent) convention, so failing to tell the Greens is either provocative or stupidly clumsy.

    Is it an informal convention?

    As I read section 7 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act of 1996, the law seems to state clearly that the Leader of the Opposition can only nominate another member "following consultation with the leader of each party that is not in Government or in coalition with a Government party".

    Maybe a lawyer could read it differently, but I parse that section to mean that Andrew Little had to contact the Green Party leader(s) before he made the nomination, even if it was just to say "screw you, I'm doing what I want".

    At worst this could open the committee, down the track, to accusations that it's operating illegally if it does something that's disliked by someone. Maybe that could be fixed by Andrew Little picking up the phone to say "screw you", before formally re-nominating David Shearer, but he'd first have to acknowledge he made a mistake.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Hopefully the “Power of Positive Thinking” will win in the end. ;-)

    Hopefully the power of positive doing would have something to do with it. I doubt positive thinking is much more effective than negative thinking. :)

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    @DeepRed: Still, I do think SkyCity could be a tipping point
    @Steve Barnes: It may well be but Sabin will be the final nail in the coffin.

    I hate to sound cynical, but I've seen (and made) any number of similar optimistic statements over the past few years about how this administration surely must crumble now, after [whatever it's just done]. I can happily accept that National offers a different ideology which some people prefer, but what's most dismaying is the distasteful way in which it's been run politically over the past while, and the way in which that attitude has translated into government.

    Anyhow I'll believe that people are ready for a change when I see it happen. I hope it will, and I think the best chance is probably for a credible opposition to present itself as a credible alternative. Until it happens, though, I'll not underestimate voters' ability to consider the status quo as their least-worst option.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    As I understood it Key didn’t even bother to read it out in Parliament – just handed it to the Opposition and then got straight into the extra time he now had for his killer new comedy material – written as Russell points out – on our dollar!

    It really needs to be up to the opposition to capitalise on this and convince voters that it can provide a better alternative, preferably in a positive way.

    I share the disgust at how our current government and its cheerleaders seem to be acting, but I think I’ve given up on complaining about it. In the end, repeatedly expressing discontent only goes so far and that distance doesn’t seem to be extending the length of convincing people to change their votes. At worst it devolves into polarising voters into camps who want to argue about who’s most stupid for who they support.

    In the end, history’s going to judge what type of government we’ve had in the last few years. Funnily enough there’s less often disagreement once you’re looking back far enough.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Losing cultural treasures under…, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    But if I wrote and published that, and made money from it, and all that money went to me and none to her, that would feel wrong too.

    To me it’s about to what extent information and speech can be considered property and be ‘owned’. It’s also about the main goal of copyright being to provide an incentive for creation to benefit society…. but not specifically to benefit creators (as far as I'm concerned).

    Speech isn’t like physical property. There’s no natural scarcity. Esepcially now, it can now be reproduced for virtually zero cost. Unlike physical property, if someone takes it, you still have it. And this type of thing happens naturally with information all the time.

    The only reason speech has any resemblance to physical property at all is because relatively recent laws (in the scheme of things) have made the artificial concept of intellectual property, which temporarily trades away the rights of other’s in society to repeat what you say in exchange for making a better incentive to create. Without the special legal constructs, there would be no concept of information or speech being some kind of sacred thing that a person can own the rights to, or limit distribution of, simply because they said it first. I don’t mind creators getting benefits for their work, but to me the critical thing, and the only thing worth legislating away society’s natural rights for, is the benefits that society gets as a consequence from creators creating.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Losing cultural treasures under…, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I’d agree with Stephen on this. Copyright has its benefits, but it isn’t in any way a natural right. It’s an artificial legal compromise on free speech, where society decides to grant the creator of a work a temporary monopoly on stuff they said first, so that nobody else is allowed to repeat it (without permission). This was conceived as an incentive for people to create works which would eventually be returned to the public domain, most commonly by letting a creator profit from every copy of its distribution within that time-frame. But the intent has nearly always meant to be that society gets those works back in the public domain where others can use them freely and uninhibited, and build on them to create new works.

    If you grew up in a society more than a few hundred years ago, sometimes even more recently, it probably wouldn’t seem natural at all that others shouldn’t be able to reproduce something you’ve done, simply because you did it first.

    Even US copyright began as a term of only seven years, after which works returned to public domain, but that term has been repeatedly extended. The last couple of times, the across-the-board extensions to prevent copyright from expiring have effectively been a consequence of lobbying mega-corporations who want to continue earning money on things they’ve had in the bank for decades, even if they’ve created nothing since, and now there’s talk in the US that it might happen again. Even with life+50 years as in New Zealand, non-expiring copyright has become so embedded in society that many people now expect it to last forever, and get surprised when they discover it’s not meant to.

    The irony is that the corporations most active in preventing copyright from expiring also benefitted hugely from expired copyright. Most, if not all of Disney’s extremely popular movies were built from old stories in the public domain.

    In honesty I don’t personally care much about having the rights to make copies of old movies and books owned by mega-corporations if they’re at least generally available, but the less obvious loss to society with absurdly long, or infinite copyright terms, is with many less prominent works. There’s lots out there which has never been republished, and which nobody’s able to practically preserve noncommercially because the copyright owners, whoever they might be ~80+ years after creation, either can’t be found or don’t even know they own it, or don’t care. Many of those types of works will simply disappear before anyone has an opportunity to rediscover them. I’d quite happily return to a much shorter automatic term if international treaties would allow it, at least unless creators asserted a specific interest in retaining the copyright on something for longer.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: CWC 2015: Contains graphic horror, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    and why couldn’t on-screen players be replaced by CG animations on the fly – imagine the NZ team all replaced by Hobbit-related avatars – fun times

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if Cricinfo, or some third party app which feeds off it, manages to come up with something like this in future, given how much ball-by-ball info is already filtered through it. :)


    On Danny and friends, I normally find that a mute button combined with a radio works wonders on the few occasions I have any TV coverage. Even before Sky came along, though, I reckon NZ television’s had a history of picking dreadful commentators, but maybe that’s just me.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: CWC 2015: Contains graphic horror,

    It is believed the ICC’s document on safety for broadcast crew is three pages long; its document concerning the protection of image and ICC branding rights is 60 pages long.

    Without trying to judge whether this whole thing is good or not, or comment on the appropriateness of the contents of these documents, “number of pages” seems a very poor metric to compare them. Safety briefings have different goals than legal mumbo-jumbo about intellectual property. Could you imagine trying to reliably digest a safety document that’s spread over 60 pages if it only needs 3?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Inequality: Too big to ignore, in reply to simon g,

    overall, a global report from the OECD is given less prominence than any press release by the “Taxpayers’ Union”.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the Taxpayer’s Union will come out to discuss this report soon enough.

    And here it is (scroll down for the full media release). It basically seems to be attacking the opposition argument’s use of the term “trickle down economics”, claiming that the Taxpayer’s Union and “centre-right politicians” have never argued for a trickle-down theory, and so it’s a big giant straw-man being used as an evil debating tactic by Grant Robertson and Russel Norman to distract from the actual issues.

    Apparently our taxes are in good hands with this government.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 448 posts Report Reply

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