November 2011 Archive

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, if you come any closer, I’ll break your face”:

Reported by the Herald. First conclusion: the principal is a loser:
College principal John Grant denied the matter was part of any bullying problem.

“The matter is not school bullying, it is assault. Two girls gave into their impulses and committed an assault and an adult gave into her impulses and committed an assault”.¬†

He is right about the mother, but the principal is trying to wriggle out of his school being labeled as having as having a bullying culture. If you have two individuals attacking another, that fits the definition of bullying. Even if it was the first such incidence. A more appropriate response would have been: ” It’s important this incidence is met with a united response from parents, the board and staff to prevent a bullying culture from taking hold in the school. Bullying is contagious and a “nothing to see here”, approach will only encourage it to flourish”.

 The board is colluding in this denial. From a previous story:

Mr Grant said while he was “always disappointed when students end up fighting” it was difficult to prevent such incidents, which he described as rare.
“These things happen. They happen in the adult world and in the adolescent world,” he said.
Board of trustees chairman Stanley Phillips agreed.
“Kids are kids. Things get blown out of proportion by kids _ we have to let the police and the principal of the school do the investigation but we are aware as a board of society’s concerns of violence and Facebook and text (bullying),” he said.
Student behaviour was increasingly getting worse throughout the country, but it was difficult to prevent such incidents, especially those that took place outside school grounds, said Mr Phillips.
“What can you do about it? We can only do our best.”

The school are investigating the incident with police and would resolve the issue by the end of the school term, which was likely result in standing down or suspending those involved, said Mr Grant


Bullying is common all through New Zealand culture. It is hard to identify and harder to deflect. The usual approach is to ignore it and perhaps that is why most of the emails to the Herald were in support of the mother, as scary as her actions would have been to all the children involved.   
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Why bother voting if you don’t get to have a say?
Non voters are criticized for apathy but I believe it is an active not a passive decision to vote. Most people do what is expected of them by others including society at large most of the time. We have a finely developed social instinct that urges us to participate in such events.
Perhaps non voters may be thinking: “no one represents me”. I don’t believe this is the case as there is so much more political choice today with MMP, yet the results come close to an FPP type election.
“Smell a rat we do”, is the general feeling of the populace.
What we have is brand politics. This was ushered in with the Greens. it is the now entrenched tradition of pandering to the media and the urge to appear savvy and “with-it”. ¬†This has cheapened our political environment. The best (or worst) example is Labour’s Kris Faafoi who stood in Mana to take a safe seat in the 2010 by-election. He was a party staffer and an ex children’s TV presenter. This does not necessarily disqualify him from politics but it detracts from the robustness of our democracy that a stronger more entrenched Labour party member wasn’t put up. You can’t help but feel he was put up because he was politically correct with Tokelauan heritage and “one of the boys” as a party staffer as well. In a way it was inevitable due to the exposed troughing culture, but we are now binning the elder statesmen for the media darrlings.
¬†Then we have the media that embraces this process and promotes slogan politics. The 2008 election was won on the back of a slogan: “time for a change”. The media has to take a lot of the responsibility from this point onwards.
The media doesn’t drill down anymore – it sells papers on cheap labour coining phrases like: “Dunnes dirty deal”(Ohariu) , or “Battle of the Babes:(Auckland Central). ¬†¬†These are potted personality stories and our political system has turned into a Political Soap: ‘Goff’s Landing’.¬†
We know we are not seeing the full picture and it makes us resentful and snide. we either don’t want to engage or¬†we want Winston, we feel at least he stands for something, even if we are not sure what it is.
 

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A storm in a teacup that is. And a great outcome for John Key. Some have said the teacup incident was a fiasco and he made a mistake not talking to the media. It was a brilliant play.¬†Some of the elderly who might have been wooed by the Conservatives or UnitedFuture were scared or annoyed into voting New Zealand first which was effectively a wasted vote for a walking charismatic corpse.¬†The party vote take for Act and UnitedFuture was minuscule but Key can still count on the reliable Banks and Dunne to pass great swathes of legislation.¬†Outcome: Potential annoying coalition partners have been smashed well into the future but¬†National¬†effectively has 62 MP’s. ¬†
 The twittering twerps from Labour and NZF can twat along merrily and National will appear the saner option for it.   No coalition partners a  problem for 2014? I predict the next election will be favorable for National if people are still voting to keep Labour out and voting celebrity over grit and stridency.
Good for New Zealand? The hope factor is high but the undercurrents are already swirling. I have been told by an insider that the recent story about funding for the next intake of police recruits was not a bogie dreamt up by Phil Goff. Potential recruits are already gearing to cross the Tasman because their intake has been cancelled for spurious reasons.
I know a lot of younger people leaving New Zealand for Australia. This may be just one example.

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And that title says it all really. As the Herald reports:. 
The guy who murdered baby Cezar is a product of his environment. Straight to jail, do not pass go. The person who really deserves the full wrath of society is the silly little bitch who let Hemana kill her child. If someone shakes your baby you call the police. From the hospital. You don’t sit on your arse texting your mates and navel gazing.¬†
Ms Taylor (who does not deserve the title of Mother) should be put on a database. If she has future children it is a given they should be removed from her at birth. She should never draw the domestic purposes benefit.
The liberal hand-wringers who would give her another chance can fuck off.  If a child dies of abuse in your care, forget being a parent forever. Get a fucking pot plant or a hamster to satisfy the parenting urge.
Being a Mother requires an instinct to protect your kids. Ms Taylor has failed in this most fundamental of duties. The poor boy would have doted on his Mother in his short life. Every time she walked into the room his heart would have lit and would have been observed in his smile. I see this in the face of my nine month old twin son. Even when Cezar was in pain, his level of trust would have been such that he would have thought Ms Taylor could make it all right. Right up until he died of the bleeding on the brain that she caused. Caused by her inability to be a fit Mother. The following is the timeline of his short life:

January 21: Baby Cezar is born to 20-year-old Victoria Taylor.

May 21: Ms Taylor, her younger sister and James Hemana move in to a house in Mangere

July 6: First shaking incident.

July 13: Second shaking incident

July 23: Baby Cezar admitted to hospital

July 28: Baby Cezar dies 10 minutes after life support is turned off. The same day, police locate and arrest Hemana.

Kids  deserve to have a decent caregiver who will reciprocate their love and protect them.  I doubt Ms Taylor or her younger sister will ever fit that category.

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We are continually being told we have a “property addiction”. NZ property investors have now been stripped of the ability to depreciate their assets and flow through losses from their income through to their fledgling investment businesses. We don’t have an addiction to property. We were given opportunities by previous governments to make money in property and now as property investors we are being punished for this because, boo hoo, “disadvantaged” Gen Yers can’t seem to buy their own homes.¬†
As a property investor in New Zealand I am now a second class citizen. I’m single-handedly responsible for the parlous state of the economy. Should a left wing government be elected I can be assured that a capital gains tax will be imposed which should quench my misbegotten, negative-gearing, property accumulating ways. This will fix the economy and supply a flood of money to the government to farm out to the governments pet projects and, “struggling citizens”. This move will also give me an incentive to sink my monies into the NZX.

FOOLS! A few brief reasons why this won’t work: Then an explanation of why property is so attractive, and why there is no going back to our previous, entitled, first home owning, utopia.
1. I am what is known as a “habitual investor”, a term I first came across when I came into contact with the doomed Dan McEwan Investors Forum ventures. As a habitual investor I wouldn’t say I know everything or even much about the financial markets. I tend to stick to what I know, and that is property; investment for the long term. However I have made a number of financial decisions in my time. I tend to keep my nose to the ground and follow the flows of the world markets. There is no way I’d be sinking my money raw into the NZX. I might get punished by Hone’s tax, for one. Also the big money is currently on the returns in emerging markets; I am more likely to invest out of Hong Kong or the US into Asia, or into China via market access through NZ. Either way my money is going into Asia.
2. Assuming a tax is going to be imposed at the point of sale, those who own additional stock are going to either dump it on the market, or not sell until the price ratchets up enough to provide an acceptable return. Either way the price of good property is going up, and poor quality stock will not be improved.
The property “bubble” is merely a re-balancing of the worth of property in line with the rest of the world. Previously property was cheap. Now it is merely slightly overpriced, but not significantly. The only reason why property has increased in price is not because of some spurious “addiction reason”; it is due to the introduction of the OCR in 1999 and the ability of the banks to settle overnight with the Reserve Bank. All of a sudden property became attractive to the banks to lend on. They loosened their criteria for lending. You needed less capital to buy more. Hence the upgrades and the requisite flash abodes.This is is entrenched and irreversible. More on property in later posts.

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I’m enjoying the fracas between Prime Minister John Key and the prissy TV3 botox fillies. I hope the PM holds his line.

The media flotsam can yell all they like that the meeting between Banks and Key was orchestrated; tantamount to a conspiracy and therefore of public interest. It was a private meeting regardless of why it was engineered. The NZ Voterati is shrewd enough to understand that it was a political measure; a photo opportunity, in the Princess Di mold, but that some privacy and respect should naturally be accorded to the two party leaders. The usual media suspects and the mendacious (thanks Homepaddock for that word of the day) left wing menagerie are mouthing foul, but the general feeling is that the meeting was ill judged but benign.  And do we, the public really need to know what loving words were spoken as the pair moued words of love to each other. One Camillagate is enough in any persons lifetime.

The public has turned from the media descriptions of Key’s actions that he “stormed out” and “had a tantrum” in recent media encounters with the aforementioned botox fillies. john Key does not have a history of tossing his toys as, say, Winston Peters. Distrust with the mainstream media instead of the PM has resulted, with little damage to National in the polls.

John Key still has a lot of political capital to spend before his assassins blade is tarnished.
A lot of Key’s appeal is in his Clark Kent demeanour. We like that he doesn’t appear too polished or arrogant. We fancy that like the bespectacled superhero, he is possessed of a strong moral compass and the ability to wrestle modern day economic bogies. And we New Zealanders appreciate the odd display of buffoonery that Key affords.
¬†Let’s hope Winston Peters isn’t the PM’s Kryptonite, but an easily dispatched second rate villain.

Winston shouldn’t be back. He is a purposeless scuttlebutt of the worst kind as demonstrated by the #teapottapes incident. Both leaders of the two main parties ¬†have much to gain from the dispatch of Peters. It is well known that no much-needed reform of superannuation or health can occur with Peters around. If he was in a Kingmaker position, the political conditions would be almost perfect for the formation of a Grand Coalition to stymie his festering ambitions. The idea of a GC is not as farfetched as it might seem on the face of it. Two leaders of the same generation poaching from the political middle ground, possibly both appreciating a need for cooperation and progress after decades of political swings and roundabouts and cross pollination over the political spectrum. I could see Labour given the welfare portfolios¬†(to marry with Whanau Ora, under the tender ¬†ministrations of Bill English as fiscal overlord of course),¬†and associate education (pacifying the union contingent and allowing for tinkering and industry acceptance of National Standards. Put Anne Tolley on the RMA, and UnitedFuture the hospital pass on Super.
The most likely combination is National, Maori Party, UnitedFuture. A left-wing coalition is entirely possible but would be too much of a dirigible behemoth to fly.

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I’m not very scary in real life. Blond. Gappy teeth like a preschooler.
I wish I  owned a bull. When someone intimidates me I could stand next to it and be like:
“Fuck off!¬†I’ve got a bull”.

This is my internet bull.

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‘I put on my robe and wizard hat’.
If you were part of the online community in early 2000’s that phrase may ring a bell. If not, Google:¬† “bloodninja”.
Last night I reread the fake IM (instant messaging) dialogue between bloodninja and BritneySpears14 and was again in stitches. Here is a sample text:
bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik’s evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.
bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it’s getting hard now.
bloodninja: Baby?

This may leave some of you cold but my sense of humour is reasonably juvenile. My formative years were spent being exposed to such gems that the first online communities threw up. Like many, I have spent a goodly number of hours sniggering at the glow of what was originally a hefty CRT screen.

The internet has sped up the dissemination of humorous phrases and stories that have subsequently entered the Zeitgeist, (spirit of the times). In past generations this was a function of the field of oral history; stories and proverbs were passed on orally between individuals and neighbouring communities.
This inherent need to pass on and retain “language memes”¬† is given new life by the instantaneous transmission of information and ideas over the internet. The internet was once a useful tool. Now it may be becoming an extension of our physical selves. It may be wedded to us even more than we realise.
 
New generations are emerging with at least two distinct aggregations of interactions and thus perhaps at least two separate personalities: 1. Online personas laid down by the sum total of online interactions: online gaming, blogging, etc and 2. Their real life selves. The two may react completely differently given similar situations and the differing levels of privacy accorded by physical anonymity.
The internet is effectively a cloaking device for the information that can be gleaned by thin slicing, not what a person tells you, but what a person is actually saying with their body language. Individuals may act more or less provocatively and candidly at the end of the keyboard.
One question is: Does this make us more honest or less so?

We may even create Selves of the opposite sex to fulfill desires unable to be satisfied in the real world; whole new Selves at the end of the keyboard. Selves that can be compartmentalized and donned according to the needs of a particular social situation or desire.
Selves that can bully, generated by the normally meek and kind. Selves that can incite to revolution by the apathetic, inflamed by a particular issue. Selves that can consume, able to order from the internet as well as shop in real life.
What implications will the emergence of internet personas have for democracy, civil society and politics over the next decade. Are there really 7 billion of us on this Earth?

Or is this planet is even more crowded?

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I’m a Gen Xer frustrated at the level of disconnect between the executive (Parliament) and¬† the ordinary Joe like me.
I have voted Labour at most elections, thinking at times I’d always vote Labour. I voted Green last time strategically to help prevent the march of heartless Tories into power. National swept into power on the back of a slogan. “Vote for change”.
WTF? It’s a slogan. Since then my respect for National has grown and so has my disdain for Labour.
¬†Labour has become a cult. It’s dogmatic and ideological.
Cultish thinking is characterized by an inner clique surrounding a charismatic leader. Generally you find rigid adherence to unspoken rules. I call it “Rigidityville”. Those who step outside these bounds are frowned upon and bullied.
Original members call to themselves similar types who instinctively speak the same dialect. These types thrive. The “weaker types” with beliefs that are watered down with some ability to relate to others with opposite views are culled.¬†
Cults only ever appeal to a limited audience. By their (exclusive) nature they are self-limiting.
The cultish nature of Labour was all very well when a savvy charismatic leader held the reins of power tighter than a virgin sphincter. Now Beloved Leader has departed, the ideology remains, but the political compass is corrupt.
Labour is now a tomb of resentment awaiting a flybuy by the delorean. There is only one way to be a Labourite and that involves a fair whack of Whaleoil’s Nasty, and familiarity with the bullying social mores of your local school PTA¬† (Parent Teacher Association). The females are strident. The men are impotent.
You’d have to put your lot in with Judith Collins any day rather than procreate with that bunch of numpties.
I recently (briefly) put my name forward to stand for Parliament but I withdrew just prior to the candidate nomination date. I withdrew due to a combination of reasons. These were mostly personal with some frustration  with the political process in the mix. Some observations that contributed to my decision to withdraw:
If you’re into politics in New Zealand, (particularly if you stand for Parliament for a party other than Leaky Labour) your morals are more questionable than a bunga bunga party. I was going to be standing for UnitedFuture. Not a lot of support there from some of my predominantly left wing circle of friends.
¬†You’d think I’d suddenly announced I was going to be marketing verucas: “Monique!! I wish you’d chosen any other political party”. Some who I thought were meeting me for to assist me with campaign strategy got stuck into me for reforms to the child support and welfare systems. I left that initial meet feeling singlehandly responsible for the plight of the poor and misbegotten.
Sneaky socialists.
Others were supportive recognising that I was merely exercising every citizens democratic right – to stand for parliament, be judged by my fellows and assist with the passing of the nations legislature.
Those that really left me gobsmacked were the knitting circle mavens that plain told me not to do it because I had young children. Five in total, three under five including six month old twins. It would seem that young children indicates a career/uterine priority inversion regardless of the opinions and judgement of the mother. I don’t mean to whinge – I enjoyed every stoush, but it became apparent to me that most people are suspicious of politics, reluctant to engage with the system and suspicious of those that do.

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This blog is targeted initially at the New Zealand parliamentary system, but the sense of disconnectedness that permeates the new Zealand political scene is representative of the malaise worldwide as evidenced by the “occupy” movement. One senses that the old ways are in decay but a new set of values are yet to arise. I’m a tad past embracing hairy hippie-dom that marked the phases of revolution in the sixties, (as I suspect many others of the pre-Gen Y, post baby-boomer generations are also). Many of us would¬† rather sit and toke on the proverbial for recreational purposes rather than in combination with the fug of political righteousness.
And those of us that don’t inhale may not begrudge the liberties of those who do and do no harm to others by their actions. A former colleague and fellow libertarian Pete George intends to debate such matters with the electorate to see where the fields of rigid ideology lie fallow. Conservatives would typically deny such liberties, whereas those who identify as socially liberal would promote educated choice. The resultant and heated battle of conservatives vs liberals now typically serves as an outlet for frustration instead of productive debate on the truth of such matters.
It is daily becoming obvious that the clash of ideologies is at the heart of the rot of our political system. Established blogs are proudly pro or agin the current gummint of the day. Visceral and demeaning personal attacks on those with the opposite political leanings are common. Robust debate is always to be encouraged but when the debate descends to the petty, the demeaning and the smutty, everyone loses.  Upcoming generations would rather debates ideas on their merits rather than wear Tory or unionised gang colours (whether blue or red) and gang patches. Gens X and Y turn off when the shit slinging starts. 
The intent of this blog is to allow a neutral forum for social commentary and debate on legislation currently being debated within the house.Everyone’s contributions welcome.
Together we can breaststroke through the shinola to a higher, more evolved place.

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