Aroha Harawira at Orcon IRL was interesting, the video is on utoob and worth listening to (it has talking heads if you're into that, too).
Dan Clemerson-Phillips is doing that via Twitter for the legalise-rape arseholes
The anti-fash groups here are doing the same. We're kinda used to fronting up in potentially violent situations, and I suspect the pro-rape people are going to be a lot less physically threatening than the white power ones. It would be quite amusing in a way to convince the white power people that the pro-rape ones are foreign darkies coming here to rape their women (all those terms used advisedly, if perhaps somewhat understated from their usual language).
I'm with the "if you see something say something" crowd on this. Step up and get in the way if you see it, boys. Yeah, the aggressors might decide to start a fight with you if they can't torment a woman... but at least the bouncers know what a fight looks like and are usually willing to put a stop to it.
FWIW I've seen Urthboy stop the music and ask security to remove an unpleasant male from the front row, and when his female accomplice objected she was made to accompany him (I assume they were booted out, but it was ~30s of an excellent gig and I was up the front having a good time, not following people to make sure they left). I expect Hermitude would have done the same, because it seems to be more of a thing in Sydney (or perhaps just with Elefant Tracks). But the ripping clothes off women is something I haven't seen at a gig I've been at, at all. Admittedly from a small sample, and I prefer less raucous gigs. I'm used to it just being lots of shoving, and weird space-taking "dancing" that jiggles the less aggressive out of the mosh pit.
The main issues come to the Unitary Plan herself (executing it)
Oh, National would like to execute the Unitary Plan, all right. A quick blow to the back of the head on a quiet night and no-one will be any the wiser.
many students wouldn’t have the benefits of accommodation, electricity and food while studying.
And of course, if they weren't studying they wouldn't have those expenses.
You could argue that we should pay all students, even foreign students, enough to live on while they study, but I don't think that's this discussion. This one is all about the miracle of compound interest.
adding a layer of muddle management (as Kiwis'd call it)?
Australia has a lot of that. We get five levels of elected representatives (except in Queensland where they only have four), and often competing bureaucrazies at state and federal level (public schools are mostly funded by the states, "private" ones get a lot of money from the federal govt. And so on). The "who pays for this road" discussion can to truly insane in places with council, state and federal authorities in different areas all having a dog in the fight. Any problem NZ has in that area gets a bonus "times 50% more layers of government" to complexity.
I was hoping for irony.
Sydney is a bad place to look for ideas, we have a right-wing state government that is privatising some of the rail (that is in Labour electorates), merging councils and using the interim "appointed managers" to privatise council assets and services, and so on. Many councils have right-wingers on board and some of them are terrifying, but ultimately powerless over the bigger forces that are making councils very hard to run effectively. Australia has a lot of "push the responsibility down but keep the funds" going on, and councils wear a lot of the impact.
if you like spending several hours a day commuting to work. And spending 15 times average annual wages to buy a shack in a ghetto.
You only have to look at Christchurch to see how much better National are at these things. The rebuild has been appropriately paced, unhindered by bureaucracy and produced a result that Aucklanders could only dream of. It's just a pity they didn't take the path they took with the Canterbury Regional Council, really, or things could have been even better!
what conventionally passes for the Christmas spirit,
I give you the voice of that great Christian scholar and gentleman, the former prime minister of Australia, the Right Honourable Tony Abbott:
Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.
I've never been poor and hope never to be, because I've seen what poor is like and I don't want to go there. And it is high on my list of "things we need systematic solutions to", so I vote and donate accordingly. Unfortunately I'm in a tiny minority with that stance.
New Zealand has grassy-green or snowy-white mountains. Australia has red peaks.
As a kiwi living in the land of the long brown cloud, that is one of the things that makes me go "what?" about the red peak design. I'm not at all in favour of any of the options given, including the current flag. But my contact with anyone in NZ is pretty limited, let alone their opinion of fringe issues like the current exercise. I've seen more "waste of time" comments than any actual discussion.