Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Speaker: A week on from the housing controversy, in reply to Mark H,

    Be cool if this much effort went into pressuring the government into actually doing something on the runaway Auckland housing market.

    Dude, this site is downtown Peoples Republic of Grey Lynn. They've all got their houses, thank you very much. Plenty of time to get outraged at the drop of hat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: My last name sounds Chinese,

    This story led 3News, and plenty of NZer's would have nodded their heads in agreement with Twyford. QED.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House-buying patterns in Auckland,

    A more basic question – why did Labour choose to focus on this partcular angle right now? Who signed off on it as a strategy?

    Because maybe it is an issue that resonates with voters?

    What does my head in is how sterile and predictable the response of the self-regarding clever clogs of the liberal left has been to this story. It plays out like a broken record played by people who seem to have learnt nothing from the left’s defeat over the last thirty years. To loud are the voices of comfortably off middle classs liberals who uncritically accept the self-serving capitalist framing of this debate as always racist and who return from a morning shouting down the lived experiences of the have-nots to puzzle over the appeal of UKIP or the FN to working class voters.

    To my mind, the left needs to be way more clever in these debates than simply falling into the trap of accepting the capitalist framing of the issue.

    Being opposed to foreign buyers of local housing stock only implies a slide to general xenophobia if the left chooses to accept the debate in those crude terms and cede all discussion to the popular right – which refusing to even talk about it inevitably will, especially when it is accompanied by a nasty parting shot that everyone who is willing to talk about it is a racist. I think the alternative is that the left frame the issue within a context of collective local resistance to the power of globalised capitalism and an understanding of local social problems. It seems to me that it would be a far more clever (and modern) use of our time creating a narrative that can present people’s cultural outlook on foreign ownership as being shaped according to solidarity and unity of locals everywhere against the global elite – which these foreign “investors”, Chinese or otherwise, are undoubtably part of.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: My last name sounds Chinese, in reply to TracyMac,

    What a shame, then, that Twyford doesn’t give you any information about either.

    That is because, as you damn well know, the government refuses to collect it.

    The wide eyed political naivety of the PA left – to the point of your self-serving deceit – never fails to let me down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: My last name sounds Chinese,

    And, no, I don’t know any Southeast Asians who would think Ng is a Vietnamese name.

    South East Asians largely live in South East Asia. In this neck of the forest most people are not experts in the geographical origins of Chinese surnames. Therefore, if you ask any Kiwi it is hardly surprising they’ll tell you Ng is Vietnamese, probably because almost all the Ng’s in NZ in the past came from Vietnam and not Canton.

    I have friends who are house hunting who all have so far proven capable of being furious at the number of non-resident Chinese buying houses at crazy prices they can’t afford without getting the hate on for Chinese in general. Twyford is reflecting the lived reality of a lot of Aucklanders using whatever statistics he can because the government refuses to even collect them, and accuses anyone who asks for them of being a racist.

    So I wouldn’t get hung up on this “racist dogwhistle”. I think the only people getting outraged about it are some of the PA crew, who seem to love getting offended about stuff like this. Falling into the government trap of accusing anyone who wants to talk about the issue a racist (you can practically guarantee Farrar will coo about this post over in the sewerblog) is really, really stupid.

    How about demanding the government actually collect statistics on this, so we can debate the issue with proper numbers instead of getting annoyed at an elected representative trawling through surnames in an attempt to get a handle on a problem being reported to him by everyone trying to buy a house?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Potency and purity,

    They've predicted a massive mental health epidemic of depression from the abuse of MDMA for twenty years. However, this seems inconsistent with the lack of observational evidence to support it - AKA The Fermi paradox.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Swamp Monsters – the…,

    This seems to me to be the perfect coming together of two distinct attitudes that have characterised this government from day one. First, an aggressively, retroactive, 19th century view of the environment, where a clean environment is seen as a luxury we cannot afford, and the value “locked up” in namby-pamby conservation measures is to released, exploited and squeezed dry for economic gain, even where that gain might come at the cost of fiflthy rivers, drained and destroyed wetlands and be of the crudest kind to the fewest people and at the greatest environmental cost. Thank Christ we never struck oil under this lot. The second is class-based cronyism, hidden behind a cavalier disregard for the law and US Republican style attack on over-sight agencies. The Key government, like the Bolger/Shipley one, is leaving behind a massive social and democratic deficit of under-funded and under-resourced public sector agencies. This government is increasingly emboldened by having a supine and superficial media that largely parrots the government line. I shudder to think what damage Shipley could have done with a corporate media as captured by pro-government plutocrats as it is now; while actual, third world style corruption, the corruption that festers in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia where the media is cowed and pro-government, is probably now already upon us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Unity, success: Chicken, egg?,

    Interesting stuff Tom, though I’m mildly disappointed to find no mention of Flaxmere

    Flaxmere never existed. It’s been erased and quietly forgotten, like a third world shanty town that offended the sensibilities of the local nobs who peddle Hawkes Bay to the like minded for it’s “lifestyle”. Originally built on “useless” river shingles, Flaxmere is being slowly bulldozed to make way for vineyards and erased from the lexicon. “There is no third world poverty in Hawkes Bay, oh and have you seen Sir Paul Holmes house?” It s called modern New Zealand, which scarily resembles 19th century Britain.

    Amalgamation will only happen when the locals are allowed to come up with a plan that assuages the multi-generational distrust between the two cities. My view is a united council with the same number of councillors as now and with a 30 year gerrymander to ensure both the old cities have an equal number of councillors would be a start. Then in thrity years, review the whole thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Unity, success: Chicken, egg?, in reply to tony j ricketts,

    one thing that troubled me was his use of the Napier/Hastings merger issue, where the more numerous and wealthier Napier doesn’t want a bar of merging with the less numerous and poorer Hastings.

    Hastings district has a bigger population than Napier and includes posh Havelock North and much of the local squatocracy in it’s ranks. Animosity between Napierand Hastings goes back a long way, made worse by Labour voting Napier, which was near bankruptcy after inadequate government support for it’s rebuild post the 1931 earthquake from the conservative government of the time (hey Christchurch!) having it’s debts written off by the 1935 Labour government while conservative voting Hatings did not. Then when the Napier hospital was closed Hastings did a nice little dolchstoßlegende and supported the governments consolidation to their ugly little shithole in Hastings.

    The whole amalgamation issue though is not just muddied by historic grievances. The long and deep and justified mistrust by Napier of Hastings has been aggravated by the outrageous behaviour of Hasting mayor Lawrence Yule, who clearly sees relatively debt free Napier as the answer to Hasting’s fat debt laden ass. Yule’s approach all along has been to try and use this governments draconian and anti-democratic local government amalgamation legislation to ram through a forced merger. For many Napier residents with long memories (and believe me, we have long memories down there) this is just another short termist dolchstoßlegende from a desperate mayor and debt laden council. Personally, I am going to vote against the local government equivalent of being tied to a corpse and thrown into Hawkes Bay.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Choose Wisely, Grasshopper:…,

    That speaks to the very different nature of the core Green voter who, more than any other, is characterised by a deep ethical, philosophical and political commitment

    Such an airy dismissal for the poor old lifetime members of Labour and National, with their photos of past leaders on the wall, who have crewed cake stalls and handed out leaflets for 50-60-70 years!! Presumably they, like everyone else outside the enlightened Ba’ku of the Green party, are merely brutes whose anachronistic thinking hasn’t left the steam age?

    This is the sort of self-reverential tosh that Greens like to imagine about themselves, but it is important self-reverential tosh because it points to a key reason they will never get more than 10% of the vote – they all to often come across to most voters as complete toss-pots.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1882 posts Report Reply

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