"could result in a disastrous loss of all the institutional knowledge of the Sound collections in Christchurch and in Auckland" - no 'could' about it. The very staff that embody institutional knowledge are those long-termers with deeper local roots. I expect many such will scorn a move to Wellington not because of earthquakes or even over-priced housing but simply because they've long since chosen to create their lives elsewhere.
Anecdata: I worked for a firm in London which had offices by Marylebone and Waterloo, i.e. a bit north and just south of the river. Marylebone office closed in favour of expanded Waterloo site, whereupon a number of key "institutional knowledge" staff departed, choosing "Door C" when faced with the prospect of either an even-crappier commute or the disruption of moving house.
I'm trying to remember when a government last took justice and incarceration seriously enough to face down the inevitable calls for it to be both harsh and cheap ("spending all that money to mollycoddle thugs while hard-working taxpayers etc etc etc"), or took the time to argue through the long-term implications of failed rehabilitation and the ensuing re-offending levels.
Some years back there was a New Yorker (?) article on managing chronic homelessness where some US cities had opted to fund (lightly supervised) housing, with the natural objection from other poor citizens struggling to pay rent that this effectively rewarded fecklessness. Impressively the city was sticking with the programme, arguing both cost/benefit (fewer emergency medical treatments, less crime) and being fairly frank about the moral implications (roughly "yep, it really doesn't feel fair but the alternatives are even worse and you really wouldn't want to be one of them yourself anyway"). Unfortunately this was notable precisely because of its rarity.
Splendid backgrounding link on Maureen: can only hope KA not only abides but passes into the hands of another such proper publican. Regarding the "we were here first so buy some earplugs (or come around and join in)" argument, I still faintly mourn the silencing of the Art Gallery clock at night - one of the evocative joys of student bar hopping was hearing it strike midnight - driven by the needs of the newly populated adjoining apartments. The balance between denizens and arrivées is always delicate, with short-term developer interests generally aligned with the latter.
Clearly a predictable cash flow lacks the wrong-sort-of-excitement of arbitrary amounts on random dates but since PayPal is just too much a PITA (country is pinned to email address) a dollop it must be. At least this way I have the value of PA brought to mind periodically through a fund-raiser rather than being just another background fee to be shoved under the carpet.
As to content, the Friday Sounds and links to Audio Culture stories are a great way to wreck my productivity at the end of the week. Overall PA and the Hard News mails before it have been the "expat lifeline" - I tend to gloss over the murkier bits of politicking in favour of the more culture/lifestyle content: BDO, festivals, Silo Park, etc - stupidly I tend to presume that Auckland has remained trapped in amber for the past years to be picked up again whenever I please so it's a fine jolt to read of all the good things happening and think "gotta get me some of that - someday..." So I'm a solid fan of the Capture photoblog - beats the crap out of peeping through StreetView.
Final request - more cultural archaeology please, along the lines of "Great NZ Argument" (can't say specifically what, since the whole joy is finding lines of thought that one didn't even think to suspect to look for...)
Thanks for posting this - been hoping that "Uncle Chris" would surface again so a real treat to see (a) yes he has, (b) doing music too, (c) still aging moderately disgracefully, no sign yet of a blue rinse or sensible shoes. And especially not fitting too closely to the eulogistic label "iconic". In the absence of a full recovery it's still a tonic to see that he's still out there, creating on his own terms.
Ignoramus response: actively using a duress password seems like contempt at best or plausibly destruction of evidence (since that surely includes materials due for searching, not merely materials already known to contain relevant evidence). But of course the penalty may still be less than that which may be due for the offense being investigated.
But how about a deadman's switch, i.e. a self-powered drive that makes itself physically corrupt if not properly unlocked within some interval? It might be harder to show that stalling on the unlock ("I need to talk to my company lawyer first") was deliberate vandalism than using a corrupting password since it can be seen that the drive says "DEAD" before starting password entry, as opposed to password entry appearing to succeed and then yielding a reset drive. Of course such a needy device would be an utter pain to live with, since the deadman interval needs to be short enough to prevent it being recognised and countermeasures applied (remove power, freeze, ablate chip housings, have Superman fly backwards around world until the drive is unlocked again...)
But it will take scrupulous discipline to ensure that the only solid evidence is on that drive - many a hacker has been bagged for tradecraft slips. However unless a conviction for evidence destruction is served in addition to sentence the underlying offence attracts then it could be a sensible gamble (practically, not morally - given this I hope such sentences are consecutive?)
We stopped by that house once on a family trip and our way down the SH1 shoulder and stepped gingerly onto verge of the swamp, staring a long while past the paint peeling off sagging timbers in the seemingly boundless gloom of drowning willows and ominous crocodilian logs. In my memory there is no traffic (obviously false - 35 years ago it was still a busy highway) and only needs the plaintive clang-clang-clang of an uncontrolled level crossing bell to complete the atmosphere. I hope we celebrated by stopping in Pokeno for a triple scoop icecream by the WWI memorial.
Of course the locals probably cheered the departure of ten million mossies and the gain of some hectares of arable land and the quicker shopping trips to the big smokes (anywhere but Mercer counts for this). But that's progress - wonderful when it happens for me but lousy when it happens to things I cherish.
Craig, if you stop eating Lego bricks then the terrorists win!
Capital stuff! it's always a delight to see an argument presented concisely and clearly yet with plenty of reference to the law. The layman's routine experience of boilerplate contracts (seemingly sold by weight, like dung), coupled with the drizzle of sensational cases like that Moz linked all corrodes faith that law can be a tool for justice, or even bring clarity to a complex dispute. And of course quality legal blogs have been instrumental in bringing this perspective to T. C. Mits...
The merest of proof-reading nits: "by forbidding not merely those involved in its processed", last word should obviously be "processes" (typos sale passed spiel chuck)
Berlin can be almost exaggeratedly international and multicultural, to the extent that I've heard other Germans half-jokingly expect a car with a "B" license plate to be driven so "differently" that a cop will wave them down, only to hear "But that's how we always drive in Berlin!" and then the cop will shrug and let them go. So in a smaller city you'll have a more Whitcoullian experience (and a German who spent only a few minutes in Whitcoulls might reel out wondering "do they read anything beyond sporting memoirs?")
Some of the cultural importation is simply due to scale - 100 million native German vs 350+ million native English speakers. Another root may have been national shame - until the 2006 world cup it was notably rare for private citizens to show a flag, it smacked too much of nationalism and a slippery slope. Nice educated types
diluted the beast within with transfusions of foreign culture. And perhaps this also lends itself to rose-tinted views of other countries: after a good self-lash & abnegation over Prussian belligerence and the Holocaust it seems that no other history can contain such horrors, hence the NZ Wars can be airily dismissed? (or that was just the author's PR speaking - keep NZ history a simple happy fairy tale for an audience who've come for simple happy tales)
For another good humbling do have a leaf through the weekly "Die Zeit" newspaper - a great slab of quality journalism, long articles on a broad range of topics, even notably good illustrations and graphic design (for a paper). The picture is the front page they ran for Darwin's 150th birthday - sadly for most papers doing a 6 page Darwin + evolution feature would be either too worthy or too "confrontational". Makes the Saturday Herald ("the big paper that lasts all weekend" as the tagline was) look very pale - with Die Zeit most readers probably don't find enough time to read it all in the whole damn week.