Posts by tussock

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    Labour's campaign was pretty bare, wasn't it. I still haven't had anyone tell me what I'd have been voting for with a vote for Labour.

    Still, keep on stabbing each other in the back there, reds. Just because what's worked in the past, where every Labour PM EVER lost an election before winning one from National, doesn't mean you should stop trying for the opposite of that now.

    Or it does. I forget. One way works, the other way defines insanity. Repeating what works, vs repeating your actions in the hope of gaining a different result. I'm sure someone down there knows the difference.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The humanity,

    Take your pick. Top result, organised complaints over abusive conditions. If it's anything like the slaves on the fishing boats the government will deport them the day after it makes the 6 o'clock news.

    The usual trick is to pay them minimum wage for less hours than they really work and then remove a "fair" portion of that for their boarding, which just happens to be all of it. Which would be wage theft, only, you know, migrant workers, good luck staying in the country long enough to bring a case.

    See also Canterbury and the "rebuild".

    Where, of course, you can get skilled builders on minimum wage, and they have to board with you under conditions of entry, and so you just charge what you like for that.

    Apparently I'm completely off on milk being reconstituted. It's not. They're all very proud to say so on their websites, though a lot of people clearly have the same idea. Sorry. The taste of the modern stuff is because they take all the taste out. I mean the cream. Because the cream is more valuable elsewhere, presumably. Then again, I grew up on warm milk fresh from the house cow each morning, where you have to mix the copious cream back in to pour it easily.


    Woh, huge nostalgia hit. That place was really nice, looking back, at least until the drought. Ahem.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Five further thoughts,

    What is the pay and working conditions?

    My (2nd hand) experience of pay and conditions on dairy was that you work minimum wage for a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening you get paid for, and between them you have to hang around unpaid in case the boss thinks of something for you to do, which almost never happens. Complaining gets you the sack with no notice, because there's an unlimited supply of similarly eager people down at Work & Income.

    Many dairy farmers are human beings instead of that, I'd like to say most but I have a very small sample set hints otherwise. Such weak employment laws that there's a lot of people aren't treated well, gets to be a race to the bottom for conditions in an oversupplied and compulsive market.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Science and Democracy,

    Oh, come on st ephen, they also like policy that earns them favour from donors, policy that makes Labour look bad, policy that personally enriches their ministers of cabinet, policy that divides society to make the poor fear each other, policy that pumps up our dollar to make local wealth more valuable, policy that pumps up house prices to help their housing portfolios, policy that degrades the public education service to lock poor people out of the intelligentsia, ... and then just run polls all the time and dump the ones that people take most offence at.

    Which means they also like policy that will draw people's attention away from their other policies, so they can dump it later after the real ones are through.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The humanity, in reply to Not The Messiah,

    So, last we have GST. That's +15% on top of everything else.

    Next we have a duopoly with the supermarkets. A cute term that describes when monopoly power is allowed to both of them. They like their profits. For instance, you pay them for shelf space, position priority, time on the shelf, pay them for unsold goods they threw out, all sales come off what you get rather than the supermarket's take and you get no say in sales. There's an extensive system of kickbacks ontop of that. If anyone complains, they get blackballed.

    A lot of small producers end up with nothing. Many farmers have had to scrap crops because the supermarket decided to screw them with zero notice. Everyone pays for that eventually, if nothing else by driving down supply.

    Big companies get a bit crazy with transport sometimes. Our supermarkets drive stuff for thousand kilometre round trips on the way to the shelves. Fonterra is rumoured to do worse things with it's milk when storage gets tight, which all costs a big bunch of money.

    All our milk is "natural" in that it's turned into powder to be reformulated before being reconstituted as milk with various additives, that in itself is not cheap, but every step is another chance for profit. There's also storage and so on, you can buy it all year at the same price but it's only produced for 7 months.

    Then there's the internal gaming at Fonterra, where the international auction gets one slice of profit, but local sales get another by passing through a subsidiary from there. That's just an immediate 7% or so on the base price locally. I recall them defending that by saying it was only a small part of their sales, so they "obviously weren't doing it for profit". Uh, yes they are.

    Competing local companies can charge just as much as Fonterra. They're generally too small to do much about prices either way, so may as well take the money.

    Plus, people are paying ludicrous sums for their dairy farms, a great deal of which ends up in Australia as bank profits. Someone has to pay for that.

    In general, our markets are completely messed up. Monopolies everywhere, all doing very crazy things with the goods, typical destructive practices around price gouging and secrecy, and a bunch of fake sales and carefully obfuscated pricing systems make it all very hard to see where the immense profits are going. Hint: to the monopolies.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance,

    @nzlemming, #renting, thanks. I'll have to find a better line for how good people like money for valid and morally sound reasons next time.

    @48% #notamajority, I guess, if that's what helps y'all sleep at night. Imagine how much of "not a majority" of voters they'll have after specials. Sweet. Barely 47%. Yeh, I know, I'm not counting Conservatives, but it's because we don't actually count the Conservatives' votes for seats on account of them being Nazis, or something, I forget.


    We might as well just do away with all the other laws and processes which protect the rights of everyone, even when they voted for someone else.

    Well, no, not at all. But really, there are no such protections against the assent of Parliament in New Zealand. They casually removed the vote from thousands of people a couple years back and no one even blinked.

    They didn't like who people voted in for ECAN, so they scrapped ECAN and appointed some dictators instead. No one even cared, their vote went up in Canterbury. People ironically want the rivers down there protected and also want a government who doesn't let them vote for that.

    They made Gerry Brownlee an absolute dictator in Christchurch. He's literally above the law down there, or anywhere that he cares to say would aid the earthquake recovery. He uses his power to ... basically prevent the rebuild from going ahead in every way that is politically advantageous to the National party. Makes it all look like the fault of the RMA, because they're going to gut the RMA and need an excuse.

    Those things, and any other thing, including retrospective immunity from prosecution, can just happen because Parliament assents to it. We have a constitution act and a bill of rights and they can just change them if they feel the need at any time. If they write a new law which just says "this law overrides the bill of rights" then it does. They did that for the family caregivers of disabled people just recently.

    Compared to them ignoring the cabinet manual, which is not a law and instead just a set of guidelines they update all the time to reflect their current behaviour, or abusing the hell out of the OIA for political gain, they've done worse. Much worse. By just writing laws that say they can. Welcome to NZ, take care with your vote.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Compulsory voting and election turnout, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Or patronizing them as mindless puppets of some vast right-wing conspiracy.

    See, no. Discouraging people from voting is science. It's been studied for over a century and people are very, very good at it. Marketing and advertising and political spin can cause people to believe all sorts of things, like that no one could possibly represent them. And it all works best on ...

    The poor.
    The young.
    The uneducated.

    And who doesn't vote? Here? Why, what do you know, it's the same people who are most vulnerable to that spin.

    As for parties who would represent them, who would offer them good things, that's much more likely to work out both ways if they actually vote, even though they're tired, it's a day off, would it even matter, I don't really like any of them, I wasn't all that fussed, someone's way ahead in the polls anyway, and all the other things that people say when they don't vote.

    And don't even get me started on the even worse turn out for local body elections -- because I've never seen anyone complain their rates are too low.

    Their rates are too low. I may not have shouted that enough, but it's difficult to even find a place to talk about local elections on the internet or anywhere else. Who are these people? Who are they in party with? Why would anyone trust that little paragraph they put in the paper? It feels like there's basically no one commenting.

    The least we could do is stick them in the real political parties they side with and hold the ballots at the same time as the general elections, on the same 3-year cycle. It'd be pretty hard to be less visible, after all.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Science and Democracy,

    The most valuable thing I see scientists do in the media is to point out when various voices are talking a load of bollocks. On account of the preponderance of evidence which contradicts whatever it is.

    Especially if it's me someone's correcting. That's an absolute privilege, even if I do tend to dig my heels in a bit. Though it's probably far more important if it's the Prime Minister or any other high profile media personality.

    I find it quite cute when such folk say they could always get a different opinion, and then can't actually dig one up at all on account of that wasn't true. That's something else people might point out as being contradicted by the preponderance of evidence, perhaps a political scientist. Or me, here. Because he didn't, you know.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to izogi,

    It just seems strange to me that there’s apparently no effective type of authority holding the PM and Cabinet to account when it comes to actually following the law and the documented rules, except themselves.

    Us. We. The public. The voters. The ballot. We officially did not give a shit and just put them back in office. Majority of people who cared enough to vote. The minority opinion representatives get to ask them questions about stuff which they have to answer, in public, for the next three years. Maybe they'll do that, maybe they won't.

    Edit: Parliament holds the PM to account, see. We basically told them not to worry.

    It works much better than the Mullahs in Iran. Those guys are terrible.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to nzlemming,

    Because "the media" (with damn few exceptions) didn't cover Dirty Politics as much as National's dismissal of Dirty Politics.

    You know, there was almost no one on the Dirty Politics side. The Greens put in a complaint to the police about the illegal bits. Labour said there should be an inquiry into the book and went back to being positive. Winston probably couldn't talk too much about how leaks get to the press, in case the press called him on all his leaks.

    So, you've got Nicky Hager asking people to read the book, because he needs sales for rent money rather than people just talking at it. And you've got National saying they haven't read it and don't need to because it's all ... message varies by the day, but "mistaken about our intent" is an approximation.

    The media can't just read a book on air. It's copyright. So they put the accusations to the accused, and those accusations were ... skirted. When Rawshark gave out the original emails, the media did more questioning with them. But it's questioning. The accused, including the Prime Minister, bloody well get to answer. That's really important.

    The fact that most people didn't care at the end of the day, even though we here in the great echo chamber totally got it and saw the problems and told each other everyone else would see things the same way, that's not really the media's fault. National lied and spun, they changed their stories, and the press pointed that out in great detail just before the election: but most people simply don't care about this stuff.

    Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

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