Posts by Michael Meyers

  • Hard News: Grenfell: a signal moment,

    I'm feeling pretty angry about this even though it's on the other side of the world. I've been back living in NZ for five years now but spent the previous five years living in Shepherds Bush, not far at all from this fire.

    I don't really know what to do with my anger so thought I'd write a comment here.

    It feels like a tower block in a modern rich country just shouldn't go up in flames from what was probably a small house fire. You see the Daily Mail and the Sun headlines for years where the talk about "health and safety gone mad". Governments that continually talk about cutting regulation and red-tape.

    We forget, until a tragedy like this happens, but this is the reason that regulations and health and safety exist. They were born out of tragedy but then slowly die from neglect.

    We hear about "personal responsibility" from certain politicians when they try to cut services. It often feels like the mantra of personal responsibility only cuts one way though. Anyone responsible for this might receive a stern talking to after years of inquiry. The victims are dead or homeless. Senseless tragedy.

    Even Theresa May was diminishing any sort of responsibility here with what I thought was a very wishy-washy statement about maybe investigating something in a while and maybe learning something from it.

    It's obviously early in the process so unclear what caused the fire and what caused it to spread so quickly, but it is apparent that something has gone badly wrong, either by accident or by negligence. The company responsible for the refit of the building has come out pretty quickly to say that they were totally following the regulations.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Obscuring the News,

    I've definitely notice this getting worse in the past couple of months.

    The nuber of times recently when I'll open a "geographically anonymous" story with an interesting headline, only to close it moments later because it's either from somewhere I don't care about, like Hicksville, Arkansas, or it's from the Daily Mail.

    This strategy might be getting them clicks in the short term but if it leaves readers disappointed it won't work in the long term. It is already putting me off, and I can't be the only one.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Post "post-truth" post,

    Here's my take: Politicians lie. They are known liars, being as trust-worthy as real estate agents and car salesmen. Because of this when a lie is exposed, no one cares because they all do it. Or they were misquoted. Or they didn't understand the question. Or they were misinformed.....

    The polls don't change in the event of lies because if my blue (or red or green) politician is found to have lied, the voter won't immediately switch to support red or green, they'll just tell themselves that the other side lies too so it's all ok.

    And if politicians aren't lying then they are telling half the truth. Think about the debate about health spending: National says they are spending more than ever on health, Labour says that health spending is not keeping up with inflation and population growth. Both statements are truth but both only tell half the story.

    Do politicians actually lie more now, or do they just get found out more?

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Budget 2016: Fantasyplan, in reply to SHG,

    I'm so old I remember when public address wasn't Rob Salmond's personal NATIONAL IS BAD MMMKAY blog

    I like Rob's articles much better when they don't seem like they have come from the printing presses of Labour's PR dept.

    There is some good analysis and description of the issues here but I feel like many of his articles would be more at home on the Labour Party blog than on PA.

    In terms of the actual Treasury estimates, the one I find most laughable it the expectation that net immigration will fall to 12,000 from 68,000 within three years. John Key keeps touting the immigration figure as a measure of his government's success. An 80% fall in immigration without any policy change seems like a joke.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Things that do us good and ill, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks for your considered response here. I've definitely seen that this is something that you're passionate about.

    Unfortunately, the mere fact that these drugs (cannabis and anything else that might be useful medically) are illegal hampers any efforts at research and clouds any judgement about their use.

    Hopefully we're slowly moving to a place where drug efficacy becomes the issue rather than legality. I'm hopeful that things have changed at least a little but the wheels move slowly.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Things that do us good and ill,

    It's interesting to read your synopsis of Dr Quigley's thoughts on medical marijuana.

    It feels to me that many people see marijuana as a panacea that big pharma are keeping from the little guy and that it will fix all ills. This is surely not that case, although I'm sure there are some areas (such as pain) where it will be useful.

    My thoughts on medical marijuana are also clouded by the issue in the United States where it seems to work as de facto legalisation as long as you've got a "medical card".

    It seems like many people would like medical marijuana to be a gateway to across-the-board legalisation. I see that as poor policy and both should be legalised on their own merits.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Forgetting what we didn't know,

    I feel like you're being a little unfair to Duncan Garner with your opening paragraph. He's only talking about the NZ context so any mention of Iceland's PM is irrelevant. To me, his article seems like a reasonably fair synopsis of the situation so far, especially since it's aimed at a mainstream audience.

    Everything else about this situation is pretty awful though: John Key completely discrediting Nicky Hager and, by association, ICIJ. Yuck. John Key's personal non-lawyer looking more dodgy by the day. Ew! Nothing to see here. Move along!

    Unfortunately, I think we all knew there would be nothing really high-profile for NZ here, otherwise it would've come out a few weeks ago. I'm not surprised that a Panamanian law firm hasn't exposed any kiwis though.

    But that doesn't mean that there won't be problems found in the next major leak, or the one after that. These high profile massive leaks are getting more common, it seems to me.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Art with a job to do,

    One thing that has concerned me greatly about the result of the referendum is the very low voter turnout in the Maori electorates.

    I'm aware that Maori turnout is often low but, in this case there seems to be a step down from the general electorates to the Maori electorates.

    In the 2013 asset sales referendum, turnout in the 7 Maori electorate (and 3 other electorates of Manurewa, Mangere and Manukau East) ranged from 29.9% up to 34.4%. Then next lowest electorate was Botany at 36.9%. I'm not from Auckland so don't really know much about those three other electorates, other than their location. I'm just generalising based on the numbers.

    Shocking to me is that these same 10 electorates ranged from 23.8% to 29.93% in the flag referendum. All these were below 30% turnout. The next highest turnout was the new electorate of Kelston on 37.4% and Mt Roskill on 40.3%

    This is a full 7.5% jump in turnout to Kelston and 10.4% to Mt Roskill. Or looked at another way, 25% higher turnout in Kelson vs Te Tai Tonga, 35% higher in Mt Roskill. It's even worse when you compare it with Tamaki Makaurau (60% and 72%).

    Almost all electorates had a higher turnout in the flag referendum than in the asset sales referendum. 16 electorates were lower, and 54 were higher. All 10 of the electorates that I mentioned here (the 7 Maori electorates along with Manurewa, Mangere and Manukau East) were lower.

    I'm not Maori and don't have a close friendship with any Maori people but this concerns me greatly.

    Does anyone have any insight into this?

    If Maori aren't engaged in this referendum process for whatever reason (not enough Maori-inspred options, desire to keep the current flag, general apathy, etc), then in my mind this is yet more evidence of this process has failed.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Cold, calculated and cynical, in reply to simon g,

    Yes, I know that's what Bart was doing but I'm wondering how well being completely ineffective as a leader plays to Key's audience.

    He's got no concessions at all from Turnbull and has to smile while saying how great Australia's policy is. Seems weak and ineffective to me although it hard to look at this through the eyes of a Key supporter.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Cold, calculated and cynical, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    "I kind of agree with that stand up guy John Key - we don't want those nasty criminals to come back to NZ"

    This might play better if Key were actually standing up for something. He's rolling over on Kiwis being deported. He's rolling over on poor treatment of kiwis in these concentration camps. And to top it all off, he's got Malcolm Turnbull's back with the UN.

    Unfortunately he's not standing up for kiwis. He might as well be an Australian MP based on his performance this week.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 51 posts Report Reply

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