Posts by Alfie

  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary, in reply to Joe Boden,

    The Drug Foundation’s idea about the government serving as a wholesaler, which would allow small growers to be in the market, is a good idea (and far better than the California model which is keeping small growers out of the market).

    Amen to that Joe. I've been wanting to hear this sort of approach from our government since I first read the Drug Foundation proposals, but so far the emphasis seems to be on large commercial operations.

    Is the 'mum & dad' small business model even a possibility under legislation being considered? I'd rather purchase from a boutique local grower than a multinational any day. And for all sorts of reasons.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Are we seeing the end of MSM,…,

    I couldn't agree more Ian. The last couple of days have been good for us serious news junkies. Finally the right wing pretenders on both sides of the Atlantic are both being unmasked in public.

    Johnson is going down trailing the most spectacular, Bullingdon-coloured flames. "Bring on the pig!" And it blows me away that despite the multiple crimes he has committed since taking office and for at least four decades prior, the actual thing Trump will go down for is trying to bribe the president of Ukraine to investigate two completely fruitloop conspiracy theories.

    Irony lives.

    Since the mosque shootings our little country has changed as well, mostly for the better. The level of public support for both the gun buyback and the general crackdown on right-wing extremists feels like a breath of fresh air. As a country we have united against racial hatred. Kiwis are good at this stuff and it feels good to belong to one of the last functioning democracies in the Western world.

    Even the climate crisis is finally being taking seriously. While it's probably too little too late, at least people are discussing the issue and individuals are increasingly trying to play their part. More than any other person, Greta Thunberg is motivating and raising the awareness of millions of people around the globe. I can't think of a more inspiring person in the world right now. Give her the Nobel already.

    Against this background of growing enlightenment and palpably changing attitudes, it's odd that some of our major media companies seem determined to remain mired in the past. Why would you continue to provide a platform for anachronisms like the hoskings, garner, richardson, hdpa, soper and the rest -- seriously shitty people with bad attitudes? Sense the mood of the crowd, old white media people. Enough of the hate, already.

    As individuals we play our small parts. I haven't visited the Herald since they put up the paywall, not because of the charges but because I refuse to put even a single cent into the pockets of their cabal of offensive pundits. I will not listen to any radio station which airs the same ugly people.

    One day the Herald may be forced adapt and adopt a more enlightened attitude. Until then, they're invisible to me. And that just feels right.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There’s talk of a Part 3 focused specifically on our options, which would help.

    I wouldn't watch it.

    Documentary filmmaking is an adaptive process. The jump from making 1:30" news items to structured one hour docos is a huge one. In this case it feels like an inexperienced production team started with a script (originally conceived as a Paul Henry vehicle) and refused to deviate from it, deliberately ignoring changing circumstances such as the downfall of the Wolf and all of the progress being made on our proposed legislation.

    TV3 received precious NZonAir funding for two docos and made a couple of half-arsed, poorly-researched programmes which were more like, Gee Whizz, Paddy tries a Spliff than anything informative.

    I agree that a grown-up doco is needed but in my opinion, TV3 ain't the people to do it. Every time either TVNZ or TV3 suck up doco funding, they tend to use their existing in-house crews and facilities which means they can make programmes cheaper than independent filmmakers. And they're taking precious funding from independents.

    Having not watched TV3 since Wheldon gutted their news and current affairs and sacked JC, I'd have to say it doesn't seem to have improved. I intended to watch the credits on the Gower shows, but TV3 do this super-crass thing and plaster their own self-promos over 3/4 of the screen, making all credits unreadable.

    TV3 have already had two shots at this subject. Any further NZonAir funding should be directed towards more talented local filmmakers.

    IMHO.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary,

    We recorded it and watched the second part last night. If I was going to select a front-person for a cannabis doco, Paddy Gower would not have been my first choice. And he wasn't TV3's either. The programmes were originally written for Paul Henry according to media reports. His involvement would have ensured I didn't watch.

    It wasn't all bad. The drone footage was effective and there were some genuinely nice moments, like the lady from Ruatoria who said the hemp course was good, "But my plants at home are better." Even Rose Renton came across sympathetically.

    But too much turned into docu-drama as we watched Paddy on some sort of journey to discover himself.*

    *Spoiler alert: he didn't get there.

    The drawn-out inclusion of the Wolf sequence was badly misjudged. His local company went belly-up in January and the man's past is well-documented. Why waste airtime giving him a platform like this? The production company had eight months to fix this, or to at least inform us about the conflict between this person's business and interpersonal skills. Poor show.

    While the programmes were conceived and started shooting last year, I've worked on enough documentaries to know that there's always flexibility in post-production to adapt to changing circumstances. It's how you craft docos.

    What might have been an opportunity to inform an important public debate in the end turned into just another TV3 "once-over-lightly-but-it'-rates" vehicle.

    An opportunity sadly lost.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: E-cigarettes and the path of…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Sadly, it’s probably still safer to smoke weed than vaporize it...

    With oil mixes, yes. Safety is very dependent on what has been added. However when you're vapourising dry material there are no additives and you're only extracting the important bits. IMHO it's one of the purer consumption methods.
    (Five stars)

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: E-cigarettes and the path of…,

    Here's more info on the vitamin E acetate used to thicken black market THC oil, and why it should never be used in vaping liquids.

    Note that no credible vaping company in the US uses this product. It's only being added by a few bad guys in the black market to cut their products and to give the false impression that their oil is thicker and therefore higher quality.

    If Jenny Salesa wants to leave her mark, by all means ban vitamin E acetate in vaping products. No local products will be affected and nothing will change.

    Banning vape flavourings which have helped so many of us to ditch tobacco, when they have nothing whatsoever to do with the recent US deaths, is a foolish response which is pretty much guaranteed to drive a number of ex-smokers back into the hands of tobacco companies.

    Counterproductive. Much.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Barclay and arrogance,

    Attachment

    Ex National MP Todd Barclay spotted recently
    Parsons Green, London
    Photo: Scoop @ Mountain Scene

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: E-cigarettes and the path of…,

    WTF has happened to vaping lately? O'K, there were four or five deaths in the US but they were caused by contaminents added to backyard THC-infused vape juice. The delivery method wasn't the problem.

    I can understand Trump & his cronies move to ban vaping. For a crooked administration in perpetual chaos with 40,000 gun and 50,000 US opioid deaths every year, having a whole four deaths you can blame on something entirely different provides a welcome distraction to feed to the masses via the battle-proven Fox and Facebook influence machines.

    Does this flimsily-evidenced hysteria need to carry over to New Zealand? Really? Jenny Salesa thinks so.

    Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa said she would introduce a bill on vape regulation to Parliament in a few weeks which would limit vape flavours to tobacco, menthol and mint.

    What an outstandingly dumb idea. That's like trying to solve NZ's far more serious problem with alcohol by legislating that the only beers you will be able to buy from now on will be either DB or Lion Red. And away with your chardonnays -- the brave new world of Salesa's imagination is likely to be restricted to just a couple of generic flavours of cask wine branded 'Drainwater' to further discourage young drinkers.

    Meh.

    This complete lack of common sense hasn't stopped some school principals from jumping onto the hysteria bandwagon cos... prohibition works, amiright?

    As a former smoker I never had much time for ASH, but they seem to be the only group taking an evidence-based approach to vaping at the moment. Ben Youdan from ASH says the ban will not have the desired effect.

    He said surveys showed some year 10 pupils had tried vaping, but very few were regular users.

    "We know that probably around about a third have tried even just a single puff of an e-cigarette or a vape device.

    "Still, less than around 3% are daily or weekly or regular vapers, and of those who are, almost all of them are, or were, smokers."

    From my perspective, none of the medical options like patches and pills ever worked for me in the long term. Vaping was the one tool which finally allowed me to kick tobacco, phasing out nicotine entirely over six months. If we're serious about kicking tobacco, vapes should be made available to addicted smokers via doctors. They work.

    By the way Russell, I've seen you mention elsewhere that we should stop referring to the "at least 95% safer" when discussing vapes. That was the conclusion of Public Health England's expert review in 2015. It's one of the more credible studies available it would be remiss to dismiss its findings that "e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoked tobacco and they can help smokers to quit." I've yet to see plausible evidence to contradict that figure.

    Most smokers turning to vapes are likely to choose a tobacco flavour initially, but it's not a particularly pleasant taste and you experiment until you find one or two flavours which suit you better. They become a portable and pleasant little background aroma to your life.

    Banning flavours or restricting them to just three foul-tasting options will either drive people back to tobacco or straight to the black market, where supply will always expand to meet demand. Of course a few people might get sick or die from inhaling contaminents in backyard juice, but that's just the price of freedom. Or something.

    Double meh.

    This government has more important issues to deal with. Buying into a Trumpian distraction and introducing legislation to tackle a problem that doesn't really exist seems like a pointless waste of time and energy.

    Maybe just stick with the evidence on this one?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years…,

    Hey. I bought a copy of that issue after the cover grabbed me. For a wee kiwi just back from his OE, it was refreshing to read a sensible and enlightened New Zealand perspective at that time.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Swamp Monsters – the…,

    Nah. It seems that Te Uru Rākau -- the Ministry for Primary Industry's forestry arm -- gets to decide what is art and what’s a just a great hunk of kauri. The same people who have been rubber stamping illegal kauri exports for years are still running the show.

    Log is in the eye of the beholder.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

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