Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ports of Auckland's Whale

Just to have a post on the lighter side of things, here's a blog post on why you shouldn't take any blogs (except this one) seriously!

Left of Pol Pot blog The Standard has a whole piece on how they think Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater is being paid by POAL (Ports of Auckland, Ltd) to write from the perspective of the company, to sway public opinion, and feed information to be used by mainstream media - mistaking opinion piece with impartial journalism. To have something to blame for the left's failures and inadequacies, they've played the nut job "it's a conspiracy I tells yer" card. 

Whale said:
There is no way I’d do what I am doing for $10,000 as a fixed fee, for something like the Ports of Auckland I’d probably do it for $20,000 after a discount for the sheer fun of union bashing
 The Standard thinks:He didn’t admit being paid but his failure to deny it when given the chance is evidence itself. Unless his “I’m not being paid by Ports of Auckland” keys were broken. Slater doesn’t run this kind of intense campaign for the hell of it – it’s his occupation. And why would he be running the Port’s lines for free? 

This is just sarcasm!! Not only would Whale never need to be paid for the fun of union bashing, but if he were, would he so explicitly tell The Standard that he was?!

Union Bashing
The VRWC and the right wing in general has a proud history of union bashing and a relentless pursuit of getting the rest of them. Whale Oil is among the top dogs in New Zealand for this. Whale probably hates every union, and would defend about any business being stifled by union irks. Whether they were POAL, POTL, Tower Insurance, Burger King, or a company that makes tea cozies; grinding businesses to a halt is not good for the economy, especially done by the greed and inconsideration of union hacks. Whale wouldn't need to be paid a cent for taking the side of POAL, he blogs every day for free on the side that's not a disruptive union.

It's A Conspiracy!
Well, to start, the mythical $90,000 a year came from Cactus Kate, one of Slater’s occasional sub-contractors, of whom Slater says “there is only two ways to get Cactus Kate to do anything…offers of money or sex with hot men”.
Tony Gibson, the CEO of POAL has said repeatedly in the media that dockers get this kind of money, it's not a made up figure. Right wingers could've gone for gold and said it was $83,498,378,679,734 if they really wanted. Whale never 'sub-contracts,' the man posts 25-30 times a day, he does exactly what he wants to do himself, while Cactus maintains her own well-written blog updating a few times a week. Plus the comment at the end about what Cactus would do is sarcastic, in line entirely with the her style of self-depracating jokes. 

The piddling $2,000 donation that the Maritime Union gave to Len Brown, Slater used to suggest the Supercity mayor was in the wharfies’ pocket. That one didn’t really fly.
Len Brown admitted that he received money from MUNZ, he just denied that it would swing his decision.

But it’s really started to unravel for Slater a bit in the past few days. He had the ground to himself before but now the journalists are back at work and not buying his crap.
There's nothing to unravel. Lefties love conspiracies and 'toppling' the enemy, often when there is no conspiracy or enemy to be found. That and journalists never cite Whale's writing, as there is a definite line between opinion piece and impartial journalism. 

Seems like the Port isn’t getting value for money when the propagandist is arguing that the wharfies’ deserve to have their wages cut. Rather undermines the spin that the Port is the good guys, eh?
Lefties are so smug, and often so wrong. Makes a great laugh though.

The wheels are starting to come off this one a bit for Ports of Auckland. Their paid propagandist is misfiring, their spin is unraveling.
Again, and just for LOLs.

They’re starting to wonder: if the Port’s offer is really so generous, them why have the workers turned it down and, if the Port is such a wonderful employer, why won’t it agree to let the workers keep their conditions with an inflation-matching wage hike?
POAL's offer of a 10% pay increase is extremely generous, especially compared to the rises in everyone else's wages right now. The reason why POAL won't accept the union's demands is because the demands have nothing to do with worker's rights or benefits, it's about stopping the union from having a monopoly on labor supply.

Truth Denial
Dear James
I am the Senior Communications Manager for Ports of Auckland and I can categorically confirm that we have not paid and will not pay Cameron Slater anything.
Best regards
Do I need to say more?!

The Standard needs to grow up. Cactus wrote a post today comprehensively listing everything stupid they've written and questioning the credibility of the blog. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What People Think Of Me...

Was tipped off that this was written about me, in response to my post, Cotton On To Newmarket Racism.
"the writer of the blog is the Vice President of the ACT on Campus Auckland who is very right wing in their politics."

How sweet.  I don't call myself very right wing, and my colleagues in ACT certainly don't think I'm very right wing at all. They think I wrote it out of the a right wing effort to shame them, the VRWC will do that for me later ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Destiny City

Destiny Church's Bishop, Brian Tamaki, has got in the news for what the media calls'Destiny City.' Though to be fair to Bishop Tamaki did call it  a town. Destiny Church announced at a sermon in Rotorua this week that he has resource consents and permissions granted for developing a site in Wiri, near Manukau City Center in South Auckland to create a community for his church's  adherents. Bishop Tamaki had alluded to this perviously, making news that he wanted to create a place for everyone in his church to live, to be close together in South Auckland, where his biggest following is located.

Not to say that he cantor shouldn't do it, as much as I have my own views of Destiny Church, we shouldn't discriminate on faith; and as for his town, he is currently developing a site privately on behalf of a private entity. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, as a future urban planner, I welcome the idea as it will finally create the growth and development to give work to people like me. Many people disagree or dislike these plans, either on the integrity of Bishop Tamaki, or Destiny Church; while others don't like the idea of a privately developed community being built, with the facilities inside designed for Destiny Church adherents.

Tertiary Education Union Screams
A striking feature of the proposed development is the university that Bishop Tamaki plans to found. A press release in Scoop from the TEU (Tertiary Education Union) shows the unions are opposed to it, like almost everything else. The government's TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) will apparently give way to institutions such as the proposed university to operate in New Zealand, which the union is unhappy about. But their main concern over these types of institutions, which haven't even started yet, is that it is not a 'public' university, not receiving taxpayer money and not controlled by bureaucrats.
“Destiny’s outlandish ‘university’ makes a mockery of the public education responsibilities of New Zealand’s real universities, polytechnics and wānanga,” said TEU President Dr Sandra Grey. “Our public universities all provide accredited evidence based high quality public education. That is what New Zealanders expect when they hear the term ‘university’.”
“The Government’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, currently being negotiated with the United States and seven other countries, will ensure those sham-universities have the same rights to set up business in New Zealand that Mr Tamaki has."
Where Dr Sandra Grey is wrong, is that 'university' is not specifically a government controlled education entity. Correctly, a university is an educational institute with many courses of advanced learning. It can be privately or publicly owned, and has the discretion of determining what it teaches as advanced learning. The curriculum at Destiny Church's university may not appeal to everyone, but that is for the private education market to determine, presenting no risk to the taxpayer by not receiving public funds.The integrity of other universities does not hang on Destiny Church's institution, as they are all run independently and the integrity of each university is based on public perception and performance, both the responsibility of each institution.

Moving In, New Neighbors
The development proposal is big indeed, and something this big and bold does not escape controversy and opposition, and any development will always upset someone. The residents nearby the development site have mixed feelings towards the new town, where concerns are raised over traffic on the existing roads amongst other issues. This will all be subject to Auckland Council's planners and the Environment Court.The development will generate a great deal of work for people in construction, along with the lawyers, planners, consultants and accountants needed to pave the way for this project.

Destiny Church vs The Public
Bishop Tamaki is a controversial figure in New Zealand. With the public perception of Destiny Church being a cult, rather than a church, some are worried what this new development will mean, concentrating the adherents into a small space where they will interact mostly with each other. Interesting questions, but I think these worries are mostly rumor-fuelled and unfounded fears. The development will be within Auckland, meaning the new town will be integrated into a large city already, and probably won't house as much as half of followers, as it will serve as a community center as opposed to a concentration camp. Being part of a large city means people are not socially excluded by location also, with the residents working around Auckland and continuing to be part of greeter Auckland society. 

Extreme and violent concerns such as a plan akin to the Waco incident are an extremely cynical and prejudiced view of other people on religious grounds. There is nothing awfully special about this development as opposed to others, such as state housing developments, which could be accused of concentrating low-income earners into a a single area, and are managed and controlled by the government using taxpayer funds. The mere fact that this is the project is being undertaken by a religious organization makes little significance in terms of development, and socially it would be no different to Muslims living nearby a community mosque, or Catholics living nearby a church. 

From an economic and development perspective, Bishop Tamaki's development proposal isn't anything particularly new or scary, despite the controversy. It's a development from the private sector that will boost the economy, and create a community center for Destiny Church. Bishop Tamaki is taking a large risk on himself and his organization embarking on this project, with no government involvement the loss falls upon Destiny Church if the project fails. Let them be, allow them to take this risk, and let's see how they pull this off.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Len Brown - Not In the Pocket Of the Union

Finally, some good news this year.

My first post on the port drama discussed the ideas of privatizing the port and how Auckland Council needs to own this problem and show leadership. Aucklanders' prayers were answered this morning by Len Brown going straight to the front page of the Herald and telling everyone that "I would encourage [POAL] to do everything they can as loyal Aucklanders to resolve this issue without any further unnecessary time wasting."

What I forgot to mention in my first post about the port was that Len Brown was not just a member of the Labour Party, but had also received political donations of $2000 back in 2010 from MUNZ (Maritime Union). Cactus Kate said on Twitter that "Len Brown suddenly looks like a [two] term Mayor. For a Labour man [to] stand up [to] a Union its [sic] like pigs flying [over the] Skytower!" And as unbelievable as it is, the man is finally starting to take responsibility and step up to the plate as the mayor of Auckland.

While on Twitter, Cr Cameron Brewer was late with the right wing stabs at Len...

The Herald Says...

Mr Brown - a member of the Labour Party who received a $2000 donation from the Maritime Union towards his 2010 election campaign - yesterday said the board and management of the 100 per cent council-owned port company had his full confidence but he refused to express confidence in the union, which he was not responsible for.
Mr Brown said the donation did not mean he was in the pocket of the union.
In a sign that he is standing up to the union, which is set to strike again tomorrow for 48 hours, Mr Brown said it was time to review some of the decades-long work practices to reflect the increasing and changing trends of the international shipping market.

However, he has ruled out the idea I wrote about last time about partial privatization:

Mr Brown dismissed calls from members of the right-leaning Citizens & Ratepayers councillors for partial privatisation of the council-owned ports company, saying it was a critical piece of infrastructure which he had a very clear mandate to keep in public ownership.
He said a debate on ownership of the port company was one for an election campaign and had no plans at this stage to change his position.
C&R councillors Christine Fletcher and George Wood have suggested a partial sale of the ports company along the same lines as the National Government's "mixed ownership" model.

Still, credit where credit is due. Len Brown is taking back the port for the people that got him in power.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Teens Conservative About Sex - Yeah Right

Here's a story good for LOLs, Family First has come up with the conclusion that Kiwi teenagers are conservative on sex and abortion. Not just a statement to show how out of touch Bob McCoskrie and his gang are, but how gullible the media is. Today, there is an article on Stuff, a release in Scoop, and it's being covered by Newstalk ZB

The Findings
The release from Family First says they've analyzed an investigation from "a nationwide poll of 600 young people aged 15-21" to draw the conclusion that "[adolescents] hold conservative values on sex issues – which are significantly similar to the views of parents." They've got this conclusion from a few 'statistics' in their investigation:

On safe sex...
"When asked “Do you think sex education in schools should teach values, abstinence and consequences such as pregnancy, or just teach safe sex?” only 19% supported just the ‘safe sex’ message currently being taught in schools, with one in three (34%) wanting ‘values, abstinence, and consequences such as pregnancy’ taught instead, and a further 42% asking for a combination of both – especially amongst older teens."[…]A poll of parents in 2010 found that three out of four parents of young children want the abstinence message taught in sex education – with 69% of kiwis overall supporting the ‘wait’ message.
On parental notification on abortion…
When asked “Provided it won't put the girl in physical danger, should parents be told if their school-age daughter is pregnant and considering getting an abortion?” 59% of young respondents thought the parents should be told. 34% disagreed. More young men than women agreed, but both had majority agreement.[…]When parents were asked a similar question in a 2010 poll, 79% responded yes - only 12% said no.
On abortion…
When asked “Do you believe an unborn child or foetus has a right to be born?” 56% of youth respondents said they believed an unborn child or foetus has a right to be born. Slightly more young women than young men agreed – 58% to 55%. Those aged 15 to 17 were strongest in support – 66%.
The research was prepared by Curia Market Research, the one owned by Kiwiblog's David Farrar. The poll was conducted between 4 and 6 December 2011 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.

The Absurdity
To come to the conclusion that teenagers are coy and conservative about sex means that the wrong questions have been  asked, giving the wrong numbers back. Anyone with any knowledge of adolescents, since every adult has been one before; will know that this is rarely the case. While different values are possessed by different individuals and groups, the overall message from  teenagers is that they are quite liberal about sex.

The research is most likely to affirm Bob McCoskrie and the gang that the 'liberal' message and tactics coming from the groups promoting safe sex are failing, as the press release quite gleefully tries to point out. To say that their investigation finds "a pleasantly pro-life view from our young people" is a gross exaggeration from poor research.
“[Our findings on the topic of safe sex]  is a direct rebuke from young people to the ‘use a condom’ and ‘everyone’s doing it’ messages being pushed by groups like Family Planning, AIDS Foundation and Rainbow Youth,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
The easy ways to catch out the investigation is to look at the questions and answers themselves, and what the objective of the research was.

1. Do you think sex education in schools should teach values, abstinence and consequences such as pregnancy, or just teach safe sex?
This is a clearly defined values question, but it puts words into the mouths of the respondents. Treating consequences and safe sex as largely mutually exclusive is not helpful to any research, as responsible education should be focused on both, i.e. the consequences of not using a condom when one partner has an STI. Loading one option with lots of valuable ideas and the other as simply safe sex already pitches them as unequal ideas. Assuming all respondents who did not mention safe sex as being positive at all only numbered one third of the sample despite the bias, most teenagers are actually interested in getting facts and advice from a health perspective. 

2. Provided it won't put the girl in physical danger, should parents be told if their school-age daughter is pregnant and considering getting an abortion?
In a perfect world where all children come from loving and supportive families, of course it would be polite and courteous for parents to be informed. The reality is that young girls getting abortions is the result of utter despair and the admission that they would not be able to support the baby. What most of the teenage respondents may not be aware of is the physical danger the girl risks in her parents finding out, with conservative parents often abusing or further demoralizing the girl. The reason a teenager would not tell her parents about an abortion is out of the shame, humiliation, and abuse she is likely to face upon the parents finding out.

3. Do you believe an unborn child or foetus has a right to be born?
The question is already loaded by mentioning 'unborn child' and 'right,' instead of the more direct and neutral question regarding whether a pregnancy should be aborted or not. The numbers give a slim majority to the pro-life option. The topic of abortion is not extensively covered by sex education in schools, so the question is being asked purely on the knowledge high school children have and the values instilled in them. Meaning no offense to people at high school age, but the sample is not well informed on the topic, nor are the values truly their own but more their parents, making it unfair to say these numbers truly reflect what this generation thinks. The research has even said  "those aged 15 to 17 were strongest in support – 66%" where the sample age goes up to 21, already implying that these values are likely to change with age.

The Reality
Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, is trying to advance his own cause with skewed numbers from young people in New Zealand. What would be the aim of using the opinion of this demographic to measure the success of our sexual health services? High school students are certainly not sex experts, nor health experts, nor sociologists. The success of programs here are best measured by such professionals, were they are all in consensus that objective scientific information and health advice works much better than conservative 'family friendly' abstinence programs, such as in parts of the United States. AIDS infections are low in New Zealand, though other diseases and infections are prevalent, meaning there is room for improvement. 

You can't believe everything you read. Young people are rarely conservative on anything. Adolescents throughout the ages have been heavily in favor of liberal drug policy, gay marriage, keeping the drinking age 18, and other liberal issues. Of course it looks silly when Bob McCoskrie says that young people are suddenly conservative about sex.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cotton On To Newmarket Racism - Updated

*Updated: Whilst in Auckland, I've added information to this post.

I have lived in the Newmarket area for a year, and I have totally fallen in love with the place. I love the diversity of everything in Newmarket, the only place in Auckland where dollar stores and convenience stores sit right next to expensive and exclusive high fashion houses and coffee shops. Broadway is the pumping artery of the district, handling tens of thousands of vehicles traveling between the city and the South; and teeming with pedestrians varying from businessmen having important meetings at cafés, to thousands of school children on their way home from the many schools in the area, to tourists taking in the shopping experience, to locals enjoying a bite to eat at the restaurants. Newmarket is a hive of activity and striking diversity of people, and now there is accusations that the business community in Newmarket is racist and intolerant toward Pacific Island peoples.

Newmarket's expensive shops and eateries, coupled with being the crossroads of the most expensive suburbs in New Zealand, naturally make the district a place not often frequented by Māori and Pacific Island peoples, though it is wrong to say they are not in Newmarket at all, especially when almost all public transport from South Auckland to the City Center run through Newmarket, and many Māori and Pacific Islanders have jobs in Newmarket. It is accused that security staff for clothing store targeted Pacific Islander children on racial grounds and ejected them from the store, despite having done nothing wrong. Other sides of the story are saying that they were targeted on suspicion after security were told to watch out for a group of Pacific Islanders who were committing crimes, while another side says they were ejected reasonably for removing security tags from products.

The Facebook Page
The whole incident has caused very heated arguments on Facebook and Twitter. The father of the two boys has created a Facebook  page called 'New Market Cotton On - Against It,' which has nearly 1000 likes, and many people are talking about it. They've kept screenshots of the conversations in their photo album on the page. 

The page has attracted many Pacific Island people, who have largely taken to the side of the family, and have used the page to show how they feel victimized by racism, drawing comparisons with the incident in Newmarket. Victim complexes are unhealthy, and all it's done is breed further separation and racism on the page. 

Obviously with the attention and activity on the page, some have decided to troll it. Though a few comments have been interesting and provocative, including:
"would it still be racist if it was a pacific islander manager that did this?"

Labour Jumps On the Bandwagon
Nick Bakulich, the 2011 Labour Party candidate for Tāmaki who lost to Simon O'Conner and failed to enter parliament on the list, has used his time since the election to jump on this page. Also taking the side of the family, as a Pacific Islander and Labour Party member, though he does not feature on their website, maybe kept quiet while David Shearer prunes the dead wood. He posted a comment on the page that attracted some attention:
There is no room in New Zealand for the attitudes for this store manager, sounds like she owes the boys and their families an apology for the way they have been treated, if it's good enough to have these boys accused of something they did not commit it's good enough for an apology, an injustice towards these young men indeed! Own up and apologise, it's what any decent human being would do.

What Bakulich has missed is that Cotton On Group has apologized to the family, and offered them $200 to spend at their outlets, which should qualify them as decent human beings under his criteria.  Whether he truly know what has gone on, or has simply jumped on the bandwagon is not clear. Information on the page is heavily one sided, and the actual information has yet to come out of the media.

The media have yet to publish a full story on this, we look forward to seeing the big picture. Either Cotton On Group, the Facebook page, or Nick Bakulich may be embarrassed by the facts.

Ports of Auckland Drama

All throughout the news at the moment, is the ongoing drama going on at Mechanics Bay where the MUNZ (Maritime Union of New Zealand) workers are striking against the Ports of Auckland. The strike has been going on since last month and is taking a toll on the Auckland economy. Fonterra and Maersk have already decided to stop using POAL (Ports of Auckland, Ltd) and move goods through the ports in Tauranga and Napier. 

Now, it's not that the dockers are making very little money, with $91000 per annum an enviable salary, along with flexible working conditions. Their outrage is actually from the fact that four contract workers have been discovered working at POAL, despite the unionized workers outnumbering them 80 to 1. The union wants to have a monopoly on the supply of labor to POAL, and have refused a 10% pay increase to stick to that idea. Even my mother said they were fools to reject that kind of pay increase, at a time when no one else in the economy is seeing anything like that.

Back and Forth
Over the last few weeks, POAL and MUNZ have issued press releases and statements publicly to try and sway people to one side or the other. Most people are backing POAL and think of them as rather generous, or are generally pissed off that the port is closed; while die hard lefties are sticking to their union comrades to the bitter end despite the cost and the embarrassment. Cr Chris Fletcher of Auckland Council has also issued her own statement on behalf of the council, voicing their concern over the dividends the port was paying to the council, and the effect the port closure is having on Auckland. 

POAL is currently 100% owned by Auckland Council. The funny thing about where the allegiances lie for Auckland Council, is that mayor Len Brown is a leftie, and the reason that the council isn't taking charge of the situation and looking after their own asset, is because Brown must be torn over what to do about the port, and the workers. As much as he can support the striking workers, his job as mayor is a commitment to the people of Auckland and the council, and he must take things from POAL's perspective.

Privatization - The Solution To So Many Problems!
Len Brown, like his right-wing mayoralty adversary, Hon John Banks, supports the construction of the Auckland city rail link, an expensive rail connection from Britomart Transport Center in the city center and the Westbound railway line. Most Aucklanders support the project inherently, but the question is always how to pay the billion dollar price tag. If Len were smart, the Council could find the capital by following the National Party policy of mixed-ownership of public assets, by selling up to 49% of POAL out to the market.

This is a fantastic asset to buy shares into, being a local company that is highly successful and necessary to the economy. It is an Auckland landmark, a local employer, has great expansion plans, and should be worth a great deal. The council will lose 49% of the $3million dividends it receives from the port, but won't have to try and save up for the project itself. The Port of Tauranga Ltd is listed on the NZX50 and is among the 50 biggest companies in the country. The land value of the Mechanics Bay port alone is $235 000 000, and the total value of the site is $348 000 000. There is serious money in this asset. Applying the mixed model of ownership (MMO) to POAL could free up a great deal of capital, in which the council promises to invest the money in local public projects, such as the city rail link. 

As for the strike, a barrage of angry investors would be better at taking charge of the port situation than a confused Auckland Council. A stinging article in the Herald by Damien Grant says that 
"Gibson [CEO of POAL] should sack the entire workforce and start again. At $91,000, there will be no shortage of applicants, even if he has to fly them in. He will not because his political masters will not let him."
True that. Of course, the issue is that CEO Tony Gibson is doing the best he can in this situation, his hands are tied by Auckland Council, who really needs to step up and own this problem. They are supposed to own the port on behalf of Auckland and its ratepayers. Without finding a satisfactory solution to the problem, the council is allowing this drama to carry on and let the Auckland economy get kicked in the nuts. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions of dollars of business, and the livelihood of Aucklanders depend on the port; and the Council is doing a disservice to its city by prolonging this drama.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tory Morphine

An article in the Herald reminded me of how 2011 played out. Martyn Bradbury has alluded to this a few times, but usually as part of scathing attacks on everything to the right of Stalin himself. The article discusses how the British government under Tory (Conservative) leader David Cameron plans to cheer people up in Britain, a country facing severe economic austerity and its usual depressing grey and miserable weather. The 2012 Olympic Games in London, with the influx of tourists and celebrations will provide a suitable distraction from the doom and gloom in the UK at the moment. The parallel here was the 2011 Rugby World Cup that played out just before the election, which many criticized as distracting people from political issues that needed to be addressed.

Doom, Gloom… and Grey
I remember being in the UK in the 2008-2009 winter where an MP was very harshly criticized for saying she saw 'green shoots of recovery' in the British economy. The public seemed to have an attitude that everything with a price tag was inappropriate in a time of recession and financial difficulty, so spending and investment dropped markedly. Amongst the closure of many small businesses upon the loss of their credit lines was the household name and retail giant Woolworths, which saw around 800 stores close in just the time I was there. The receivers tried getting as much money as possible back, shop fittings and fixtures like shelves and lightbulbs were sold. It was a stab at the British psychic, and the big warning of how real the recession was. The huge problem was that people thought the way to get out of recession was to spend and invest less, which is basically the opposite of what needed to happen. Business can't grow with falling demand, declining investment, and scarce credit. 

Distraction or Celebration?
Before you decide which, the question to ask first is whether Britain is in need of either. The answer is most likely a yes, the more that people dwell on negativity, the more it grows, especially in the cool cloudy climate of Britain. People need to see signs of positivity, prosperity, growth, and the vision of a future in order to continue. The economy, like people, need a future to aspire to in order to continue putting in any effort. Something surely needs to spark some economic positivity to get the ball rolling, and the Olympic Games look like a good idea. It's when huge swathes of London undergo immense regeneration and gentrification, when the city is totally swamped with tourists who are very ready to part with plenty of money, when people watch feats of athletics and sports and share in the successes and efforts of the competitors. In fact, the simple notion of having so many competitors in the games is reminiscent of a healthy market economy. 

Government Input
While indisputable that the Olympic Games will improve morale and spirits significantly, the real question is what role the government will play in organizing this colossal event. How much will they spend? It comes down to a very stringent cost-benefit analysis. In New Zealand, we apparently spent more on running the RWC than we brought in, a net loss to the country. The British government is taking special interest in the Olympic Games and is pouring millions of pounds into the event, apparently doubling the budget of the opening and closing ceremonies, to £81million or NZD$160million. To ensure the games truly provide as an economic stimulant for growth, the games cannot incur a loss, even in the short term. Even if the investment pays off in the long run, it can all be sabotaged if word gets out that the country spent more than it earned hosting the event, as Britons would be skeptical that the games were of any success. If the Tory government wants to see this through, the project must be economically profitable, as it will stack up as a sign of the growth that Britain achieve. Even a small profit to the economy will show that the investment in Britain can appreciate in value. 

I'm quietly confident that with careful planning and considered spending, the Olympic Games will be a celebration of Britain and a stimulus to the economy. The Conservative-led government in Britain has proven itself reasonably successful so far, and is theoretically capable of pulling this off for the benefit of Britain. Failure to do so will be an embarrassment to the country, the government, and leave Britain even further in debt and financial despair. The least it can do is provide a distraction and a boost to national spirit and morale in the same way the RWC was to us, the right investment and it can surely become the catalyst for economic success.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The December of Our Discontent

New Zealand has had a pretty dull December if we want to be honest with ourselves. The MetService promised us a warm humid summer under a La Niña system, where it's just given us a cold and rainy one. As much as I love the MetService, I guess there's only so much trust you can extend to a state-owned company. If I wanted a rainy summer, I would have gone to Singapore, any excuse to go there would be fine though!

Most of us (politicos) have all been in post-election hangover for much of December, with the only politics left to watch consisting of the who-gets-what in the National coalition government, and watching the Labour Party begin the election losers infighting. Three Davids turned into two against one, with David Parker withdrawing his bid in favor of supporting David Shearer, who won. For Shearer's sake, he shouldn't be too happy that he's won, he's basically inherited the biggest political mess in the country and should be whipping some of his inept colleagues into shape. Helen Clark dished out a good deal of whipping, maybe that's their key to getting back into government. 

Other changes have included me getting a new URL address for this site, and the domain name came with a free Google Apps subscription, and I still have absolutely no idea how to use it. I do like how it calls me the 'super administrator.' Not as cool a title as 'Governator' perhaps, but awesome nonetheless. 

January is going to be a bizarre interim month for political stuff anyway, with parliament not sitting until February or some shit. The mainstream media political news reporters will be splitting straws for news right now, and soon the shit-for-news will be the norm until something good happens. Stuff has already published a joke prediction list, which Kiwiblog has analyzed. 

With American politics heating up slowly before the 2012 presidential election, discussion about the Democrats' and Republicans' campaigns is becoming topical here. The Brotagonist has organized a Students4RonPaul Auckland group, which I'm sure he'll blog about plenty as the plot thickens in the Republican candidacy. The story-scarce summer will probably turn much of the attention over to this, the Iowa Republican primary will be a headline very shortly. 

Hopefully January's weather will pick up anyway. Still waiting for a summer of good food, good drink, good music, and some sun!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Address

You may have noticed that things have changed a little here. I've finally cleaned up the old URL (website address) and got a nice flash (pricey) new one. - it's just got a ring to it, don't it?!

Hopefully this makes it easier to get to for some people. Apologies though if it upsets RSS feeds or bookmarks, you can still get the feed from the new name and bookmark the page.

The domain name came with a year's subscription to a whole lot of Google services. Shit know what they do or how they work. Will figure it out though!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - New Year

Happy new year everyone!!

Like any first day in business, we shall go over the agenda.

My commitments to this blog:

  • Make an effort not to write anything tl;dr (too long, didn't read)
  • Keep the posts to once a day at most, once every 3 days at least
  • Keep up with all the news as it happens, which I'm now doing with RSS feeds
  • Add more pictures, people like pictures...
  • Maintain the 'constructive criticism' policy, the one that doesn't apply to Winston First

Your commitments to this blog:
  • Comment, join the discussion!
  • Tell your friends to read it and shit
  • Subscribe, and read ALL the posts!

Feedback of any sort is appreciated, if you've got something to say - please do! Enjoy the summer, even if it is pissing down with rain out there, the port workers are all on strike, Winston First is back in parliament, and the price of smokes just jumped!

Oh well, stay cool :)