Best non-fiction book I've read all year was Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sport by Anna Krien
Won the William Hill Sports Book of the year award this year - and its an unputdownable and harrowing examination of something very rotten at the heart of the AFL.
Amazing how often people trot out the myth that the British Labour Party was unelectable until Blair won the leadership
Well ..... it is factually correct to say that the British Labour Party - at least from Thatcher onwards - was unelected until Blair won the leadership. I guess we can all draw our own conclusions as to the correlation.
I agree with intensification. Simply no other way to accommodate growth, avoid economic cost of sprawl, as well as get a bit more big-city vibrancy.
Not sure I like the characterisation of the inner-west as 'uncooling' though :). I returned to NZ 10 years ago after decades overseas in UK and Australia.
The lure of the NZ lifestyle, the desire for our children to grow up as New Zealanders and the wish to spend more time with our wider circle of (aging) family and friends became too hard to ignore.
Armed with money gained from selling an apartment in inner-west Sydney, we had dreams of buying a hip-pad in Ponsonby.
Reality meant looking in Ponsonby, becoming aghast and then disillusioned by the prices, then readjusting sights to Grey Lynn, Westmere, Western Springs, Pt Chev, and then ultimately to a do-up bungalow in Mt Albert.
As a family we've had some of the best years of our life here in Mt Albert (despite the - first-world problem - paucity of decent bars and restaurants that our London and Sydney lives had sensitised us for).
The area is full of people in similar positions to ourselves - people who have lived elsewhere and returned to Auckland and NZ aspiring to live in a vibrant, varied city and making a contribution to that in their own way. I don't think of that as 'un-cooling' the area.
Intensification is happening - albeit not in a particularly planned way. But in my street alone nearly half of the sections have already been sub-divided.
I'm even OK with the idea of Unitech getting to develop some of their extensive land holding for residential purposes.
I just wish they hadnt gone about it in such an appallingly ham-fisted way. Instead of approaching the community to pitch the idea of more community amenities, more school space (in an area chronically short of room in primary and intermediate schools) and more scope for bars and restaurants, we get an attempt to force a change through the back-door without any community consultation.
A good piece and thought-provoking. Some thoughts:
a man with a question the public wants answering connecting with the public servant who has the information.
Is it possibly a bit hyperbolic to say that media questions are by definition ones that the "public wants answering"? - thats not always been my experience,
Is it possible that media have also been complicit in driving the perversion/expansion of the "no surprises" policy by reducing all bureacratic cock-ups to a public call for some political head to roll? (or by giving a megaphone to an opposition politician who will use it to make that call?).
The framing of the six o'clock news and the daily papers drives the understanding of almost everything for everyone in this country.
Sorry - dont buy that. Seen the circulation figures for the Herald in South Auckland? Seen the declining figures on TV News?. For the news interested, one of the transformational aspects of the internet age has been access to different news and different perspectives on the news. For the uninterested, the off switch has never been more readily employed than today.
Mainstream journalism in NZ is a shambles. Really, it’s desperately poor and often pathetic. It’s a fucking joke and the rest of the world is seeing that as well as having an arsehole PM who can’t speak properly and likes to taunt those who oppose him with pre-school level insults we have shit television reporters, deluded and often deranged political columnists in our newspapers and gutless, craven radio presenters.
Sorry but that attitude, right there, even if feels good to get off your chest, doesn't strike me as one that is likely to lead to electability anytime soon. If we get locked into a 'blame the media' narrative I don't think it leads anywhere constructive. The media is us. And even then, their influence on the electorate is over-stated. Look at how even a rabidly partison media outlet such as Fox News in the US is unable to influence voters beyond the already converted. Believe it or not, a lot of people ignore the media, and make up their minds as to who to vote on other things.
My read of the election results here is that like it or not the electorate have rejected the Labour parties leftward shift.
I don't think so. Public polling tends to reveal a majority acceptance of much of Labour's policy. Labour/we-the-left definitely need more data-driven campaigning. But I reckon it's much more about how it's framed than the content being unpalatable.
Plus: Labour (again, sigh) seem to be divided internally. That's electoral poison.
You may be right Rob, but I fear that for the Labour party, framing this comprehensive defeat as "our policies are right, we just need to do a better job of selling them" may not lead to a materially different outcome. Totally agree that having a better handle on polling data is a good start. Certainly worked for Obama.
Chatting to a friend last night about an interesting exercise that a well-known Auckland private school did with some 14 year old students in the lead up to the election. In terms of party-brand, the students mock-voted a majority for National (presumably reflecting their parents political leanings). When they stripped out the party brand names and asked the students to vote for policies in a blind taste session, the students majority voted for Internet Mana.
Blairism will destroy that party, and I mean that literally.
Jose Pagani's vision of a grand coalition with National must be the only reason she continues to drag out the rancid carcass of Blair's legacy
Blair is/was all kind of odious things and failed/corrupted promise incarnate, but he was also very electable. And after the misery of a generation of Thatcherism (and Majorism) electability counted more than anything at the time. My read of the election results here is that like it or not the electorate have rejected the Labour parties leftward shift. One can argue that this is only because the message wasnt delivered with enough clarity or the messenger was a bit shit. Or one could argue that the people didnt like the message. So does Labour double-down or look for a centrist leader?
Some excellent comments made by the NBR journalist Nathan Smith on a current online article there (its paid content so haven't linked to it).
In one of the comments subsequent to the article itself, he makes the point that the big discussions about privacy in the future will likely be about personal information freely volunteered to corporations. Already the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon know a heck of a lot of things about a lot of people.
With the last 10 years or so onwards of our personal digital information all being stored online in various organisational repositories, with the value of that data growing by the day, and with the implications of that personal data being misused by increasingly sophisticated hackers and criminal interests becoming more significant as the digital generation moves into more positions of power and influence, one could well argue that the privacy implications of this may one day be a much bigger challenge than that posed by government interests.
There are assumptions that any NZ data that may have been witnessed by Snowden must have been collected in NZ (or on its way in or out). However, as I understand it, data that travels internationally becomes subject to the legislation of the land through which it travels or where it is hosted (or at least the delivery and hosting mechanisms of that data does). In the same way that international travellers are subjected to the relevant travel security legislation etc of different countries. And plenty of NZ data travels internationally. So it seems to me if that is the case - vested and political interests and spin aside - entirely plausible that most if not all of the parties involved in this may be telling the truth.