One thing people who don't support this could do is stop buying Fairfax papers, using Trademe, plugging their products and articles, etc?
I did this a couple of weeks ago and heartily recommend it as a thoroughly refreshing experience.
A kid turned up at the door trying to sell subscriptions to the DomPost, complete with all manner of Fairfax sweeteners like cheap magazines. (Which does rather beg the question ... if their subscriber numbers are really as flash as they claim in their self-promos, why are they selling door-to-door for the first time in living memory ... ?)
Anyway, I politely but firmly informed the saleskid that given Fairfax's relentless editorial support for useless roads, continual attacks on the mayor and their insistence on bylining Karl du Fresne as "commentator" rather than the more accurate "grumpy old douche-bag", they could take their subscriptions elsewhere.
The kid was stunned that the editorial stance of the paper would be linked to my interest in paying cheap rates for home delivery, and remarked that he'd never had anyone decline a nearly-free subscription on that basis before. So perhaps collectively we should make it a more frequent experience for him and his colleagues.
see a certain large cities "ex-green/lapsed-green/informal-green" mayor for an example
It's not really a very useful example, as the council table is a very different place to the caucus table. For starters, there are no real party affiliations at local government level, merely a spread of political proclivities ranging from rabid right-wing insanity to whatever the part of the spectrum is defined by "a permanent state of apathy and only turning up to collect the pay cheque", rather reminiscent of a certain public broadcasting personality in the capital.
Getting anything done in that environment is a touch more difficult than leading a caucus, even a factionalised one. It's more akin to being Speaker and attempting to get coherent policy out of the House by putting up proposals and letting everyone take a pot-shot. Principle is going to disappear out the window in fairly short order unless you want to spend your entire term with no tangible outcomes at all.
Under the current structures, mayors are mostly figureheads. You have no executive power, no ability to allocate portfolios, and one vote around the table. (Different rules apply in Auckland, of course). So it's either compromise or be sidelined, which is not usually the experience of Ministers ... or at least not to the same degree.
Voters who care that a party is protecting "useless" electorate MPs with high list places will be less likely to vote for them.
The technical term for this is "Labour".
Anyhoo, leaving aside the legal niceties, I'd like to put out a big thanks to the citizens of Epsom for inflicting Banks and his morally repugnant fellow-travellers on the country. Good job, people!
The appointment of Roger Sutton to lead CERA seems a good sign, but I would like to be convinced of the vision of those with political responsibility for the task.
I grew up in Christchurch and can’t face going back yet, with so much of the city changed forever.
I had this vision in my head that the earthquake would result in this huge outpouring of construction effort and energy to rebuild the city and people’s lives, like some Bob The Builder episode turned up to 11. Yet reading Russell’s post is just so depressing – 3 months later and there seems to be so little happening. My Christchurch family affected by the earthquake say that that there’s just no momentum in the recovery.
So given it’s the country’s biggest disaster in our (admittedly short) history, I am left wondering what it would take before the Bob The Builder scenario actually played out … what would have to be destroyed and lost before we did put every digger and truck and tradesperson in the country to work to make it whole again, and stopped leaving the reconstruction of this beautiful city and the homes of the people who live there to the invisible and utterly uncaring hand of the market?
At what point do market forces stop being a political philosophy and turn into simple callousness?
TVNZ do news? I thought they simply regurgitated press releases from the Police.
There have been recent days (prior to the World Cup, I admit) when you can get to the first ad break in the 6pm TV One bulletin without seeing a single story that came from anywhere other than the Police's PR department.
... and just an aside on the subject of smoking:
Let me tell you a little story about a bloke I met in Singapore once.
To set the scene: this was 1999, I was there on some IT business and we were in an expensive bar with a business colleague of mine, who is an ex-pat Pom. He’d lived in Singapore for about ten years at that point, and he introduced me to an old public school chum of his who was passing through Singapore on holiday.
Said chum was a very senior person at Dunhill, a rabid Tory supporter, an archetypical public school bigot, a Lloyds name, and had about the same net worth as God – my colleague said his current value was “in excess of 200 million pounds”, a pretty big slice of which had come from Dunhill, where he’d worked since leaving Uni. He’d just had his 41st birthday.
He was a non-smoker.
After a few drinks he was happy to admit that smoking killed people, but he had absolutely no moral qualms about that at all. As he described it, smoking was a “stupidity tax”, and he had the view that it really didn’t matter what governments did, around 20-25% of the population would continue to smoke – even knowing that they would die an agonising death as a result. He seemed to think that it was practically his moral duty to make money out of morons. Lots of money.
He said that the rest of the Dunhill empire – fashion and the like – was just as way of legitimising the brand, and that the other areas of business were simply a way of clouding the “obscene” amount of money they were making out of cigarettes.
Apparently no-one in his family smoked, and he had threatened to disinherit his two daughters if either of them ever took up the habit. He was in Singapore because the family were on the way back from Thailand, where they’d just bought a holiday place – to go with the place in Italy, and the apartments in London and Paris. He wasn’t that keen on Thailand because it was out of range of casual use of the Dunhill corporate jet, and so he was forced to travel first class on a regular plane, but his wife and daughters liked Thailand so he was happy to make the compromise and drop his normal travel standards.
He was probably the most vile and contemptible individual I have ever met.
Unsurprisingly, the most negative column on the topic came from Roger Kerr. It's a shame he and his cronies have so much sway with the occupants of the Beehive
I'm always amazed by how much influence the Business Roundtable has, given that after more than 25 years in business up and down the country, I've never met a single person who actually belonged to the organisation. It just seems like the entire membership is Roger Kerr and a couple of PR flacks.
That's a pretty impressive piece of mana enhancement on Pita Sharples part. I mean, was it ever remotely possible that he would come out of this smelling of roses? What was he thinking?
Gordon Campbell is skewering Melissa Lee:
It is rare indeed to find arrogance and ignorance combined so exquisitely in the one harsh and clanging package, and the P.R. crew down at National party head office must be thinking that polling day in Mt Albert just can’t come soon enough, to get her off the front pages.
It's a delight.