Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ho Ho Ho





































YES THE HURRICANES WUZ ROBBED.


Nick-the-ref was bad, not only missing that nice Mr Whitelock reaching over and knocking the ball down, effectively ending the Breeze, but according to some comments from Hurricane supporters,
he also erred significantly in penalising the nice Canes seven times and the horrid Crusaders only three.

Then there was that wonderful Mr Barrett, who missed one of those three penalties in attempting a goal that, along with a missed conversion, left them four short when it could have been a one point victory. Sort of, anyway!

It was finals footy people, and taking chances and kicking the goals can be a winning strategy.

Seven penalties to three might suggest that concentrating on the one that nasty Nick-the-ref is being called out for, might just be a bit sad and pointless.

I was unable to watch this game and the live commentary from The Herald and Stuff on the interwebby was a miserable failure. So I am looking forward to the "Spark Sport" effort from Japan later this year with a sense of doom, as all attempts to get fibre installed and signing up for the Spark broadcast have been notable for failures on many fronts and much allied frustration.

The crowd has come in for some attention as to its less than fulsome response as regards attendance. I am on the road at present but my spies tell me that global warming is absent just now around The Garden City and some quite challenging overnight temperatures are in abundance.

Now only the Jaguars stand between the team many try to hobble in so many ways and a threepeat taking them to ten titles in 23 years of Super Rugby.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The EU and the rule of law.......

At last colours are nailed the mast, Putin has announced that Liberal democracy is “obsolete” and this is the time of populism and nationalism. We were always going to reach this point and the only thing that surprises me is that it is so soon.

He has only another four years to run as president and his useful idiot Trump has two years but the sight of them chortling about election meddling and stamping down on the fake media is of great concern. Given that 70 or so journalists have been murdered on his watch and the opposition  marginalised by the misuse of the law I fail to see the humour that made both of them so happy.

The Kremlin is entirely happy with the world watching the Trump antics with Nth Korea and Iran fake wars. They are not so happy with the situation in Europe. The EU is the  Worlds largest, and some say only, liberal democracy consisting of 28 countries who have signed up to a trading bloc that has raised the living standards of millions of people and brought them under the rule of law.

The fly in the ointment is Hungary, although an EU state – is already de facto a Putinist nation: its authoritarian far-right leader Viktor Orbán, surrounded by similar oligarchs, flaunts what he calls an “illiberal democracy” that has shut down dissenting newspapers, persecuted NGOs, closed down an entire university, throttled the independence of the judiciary. Its rampant corruption and misuse of UE money has led to Hungary being widely labelled a kleptocracy, and it has indulged in wanton antisemitism.

The Brussels was slow to act but when Poland started to go the same way by reducing the retirement age for judges from 65 to 60 in order get get rid of the existing and put their own people in has become unstuck with the European courts of justice ruling against the Polish Govt.

Poland is a sovereign nation and can ignore the ruling but the ramifications of loss of  EU money and trade restrictions is a step to far......if you join a club you obey the rules you don’t make your own.

The small nations of the world need the EU as a buffer against the big dictatorial powers of China, the USA and Russia. It is a force for good and being 28 nations instead of just a Washington, Moscow or Bejing and gives it a more balanced decision making process rather than decisions made on popularity or to win votes.

Friday, June 28, 2019

ON HOUSING MINISTERS

So, Ms Ardern's bold response to the  Kiwiflop debacle is to create a Ministry of Housing Ministers comprising not just one, not two, not three, not even four, but five ministers.   A virtual chocolate fish to whoever comes up with the collective term for five ministers all with their spoons in the same pudding.

Reminds me of the old Jewish tailor's meme ... never mind the quality, feel the width.   Whoops, gives himself a swift uppercut ... in today's brave world Jewish/Irish/Polish/Blond jokes are out although I do recall a newly elected 'blond' Mayor in South Auckland who, when asked why she drove the mayoral car with the windows open, replied that she hadn't figured out how to turn off the air-conditioning ... I digress. 

That aside and Minister #1 who hails from Christchurch will be able to save the taxpayer dosh by calling a meeting of her underlings in that fair city and putting them up in some of the 55 Kiwiflop houses built to date that nobody wants.

JULIE ANNE GENTER HAS BLOOD ON HER HANDS

along with all her other enablers in the Greens, Labour and NZ First by her refusal to countenance roadside drug testing against the call for action by the victims of cannabis/cannabanoid drug impaired drivers long backed by National and now by the Coroner following the horrific road crash outside Waverley last year which cost seven lives (including the druggie).

And why?    Simple ... this goes against  the Green Party meme that legalising cannabis usage will somehow make New Zealand a better and safer place to live in ... that our 'wellbeing' will be enhanced.  

Sorry Ms Geneter .. your and yours have blood on your hands and if that upsets the snowflakes of this world then I, for one, couldn't give a flying f**k.

Testing Targets

Back in early March of this year I read an article by a serving, unamed New Zealand police officer, which advocated that the NZ Police start openly carrying semi-automatic pistols.

This would overturn a long-standing convention, inherited from Britain, although the NZ Constabulary were armed up until 1886. Of course it's been well understood for some years now that officers typically have access to pistols in their cars, even if this news is not broadcast widely. But the officer pointed out that they are increasingly confronted by criminals, particularly gangs, who are armed with all manner of guns, even during traffic stops. It's getting more dangerous out there and a cop simply may not be able to get back to the car, or do so quickly enough.

The article sparked only a small amount of debate, and it was soon swamped by the Christchurch shootings, even though the sudden appearence of armed Police officers in public all over the nation, every day, in the wake of that shooting, unnerved people.

Since then the debate has not re-appeared, but it's likely that the officer was not just speaking for himself or a small fringe of the Police, so it's likely to come up again, as it has many times over the years.

In that case it's appropriate to take a look overseas at what this might mean, and the largest and most comprehensive studies have, of course, dealt with the USA. What they show is not good.

Most people, exposed to a lifetime of cop movies and TV shows, think that US cops are at the shooting range often, their feet covered in brass shell casings as they unload hundreds of rounds at targets. Moreover, all this practice shows when the cops drop a bad guy, usually with a single, accurately placed round, possibly two rounds in a classic double-tap shoot, or even shooting to wound.

People also think that most cops have fired their weapons on the job, and do so regularly.

This is all nonsense.

Dealing with that last myth first, from a Pew Research study in 2017, which had a very comprehensive survey:
In fact, only about a quarter (27%) of all officers say they have ever fired their service weapon while on the job, according to a separate Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform. The survey was conducted May 19-Aug. 14, 2016, among a nationally representative sample of 7,917 sworn officers working in 54 police and sheriff’s departments with 100 or more officers.
And of course even those weapon discharges don't mean that they shot somebody.

For this we should probably be grateful, because despite the regularly proclaimed idea in the USA - "leave guns to the professionals for dealing with crime" - US cops just aren't very competent or professional at handling their guns.

And this shows up regularly with stories like this one out of New York City in 2012 - 9 shooting bystander victims hit by police gunfire. None of the bystanders died. There was also a shootout several years earlier where NYPD cops confronted a guy who'd gunned down a store-owner, and fired over a hundred rounds before finally hitting him. Bystanders were hit there too, but again none died. Then there are cops who've died from "friendly fire" (7 cops, 42 shots). Cops who keep accidently discharging their weapons (even "elite" units). Cops having their weapons stolen. My favourite remains the FBI agent who lost his gun during a dancefloor backflip, and shot a bar patron (who survived).

There are a number of reasons for all this.

First, most cops do a qualification shoot only once a year, some perhaps twice. No more than 50 rounds are normally fired. As noted above, for most cops that's the only time they'll actually fire their weapon.

Second, this usually consists of shooting standard, stationary silhouette targets at known, fixed distances in good light. Usually 25 yards is the outer limit.

Third, the passing scores are generous, as low as 70%. Virtually all allow reshooting as many times as necessary to pass.

Fourth, the guns are not really set up for them. Often the sights are standard set rather than specifically for the officer. They usually use "practice" ammo, which has lighter powder loads and therefore has different chracteristics from "duty" ammo.

Fifth, the handguns often have trigger-pull weights of 12 pounds to reduce accidental discharges, compared to the common off-the-shelf weight of 5.5 pounds. That heavier pull makes it tough to shoot accurately, especially with multiple shots.

The results, aside from the stories that make the news, speak for themselves, according to an early 2000's Police Policy Studies Council report. It showed that in 1990, NYPD officer hit potential was only 19%. Put another way, 81% of the rounds they fired at criminals missed.

At less than three yards, they hit only 38% of the time. From 3-7 yards, 17% and from 8-15 yards, only 9%. The report has more recent data from other US Police Departments that show the same thing, with only small variations in the percentages.

Given that all this is in a country where the cops have every incentive to be good at using their handguns, I don't have a lot of confidence that NZ Police would be better.

I have not found as much comprehensive information about our cousins across the Tasman Sea, who have been armed from the start, but this article by a former Australian detective (now a criminologist at Bond University in Queensland) is not encouraging:
In Queensland, operational police undergo Operational Skills and Tactics (OST) training once a year. This is hardly the repetitive training that allows you develop instinctive reactions,
...
Much of the three days’ training is wasted on irrelevant tasks such as memorising and naming gun parts and stripping the weapons down – tasks that in 28 years of policing I never had to do in the field.
If NZ cops are going to insist on carrying handguns then they'll need to have far better and more frequent training or they'll end up with similar problems to the USA. Moreover, I'd insist on regular reports on all this from the Police to Parliament, not just to the Minister of Police.

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

En garde.....

Again Russia is leveraging  the Brexit process for it’s own ends by exploiting existing division in Northern Ireland.

https://belsat.eu/en/news/ira-isis-lumped-together-russian-trolls-take-aim-at-uk-ireland/

The creation of one time “burner” social media accounts is the new mode of attack and no country, even NZ is immune from them.

Russia is an authoritarian and corrupt state that regards the EU and, more specifically, NATO, as a challenge, a competitor and a threat.

Its influence activities are malicious, undermining alliances and creating distrust, weakening what Moscow sees as their opponents and thus ensuring the survival of this authoritarian regime.

Their interference is worrisome at several levels. First,  Russia is undermining core democratic processes, like elections, and trust in the political system and its institutions. Second, their disinformation and manipulation of media and social media is directly undermining the political discourse, essential to democracy.

Third, this is further exacerbated by their malicious attacks on individuals who investigate and expose their tactics. However, the overall Russian approach is simple, divide and rule.

This is often seen in simple online political disagreements  that turn into ridicule and abuse with more often than not both actors playing a part in order to influence those who identify with either party. These influence activities are almost always exploiting existing conflicts, fuelling and enlarging them whether it’s race, religion, gun laws or sex......I don’t think they have got round to exploiting the divisions over Phar Lap or the Pavlova recipe yet.


If the Russian strategy is to divide our alliances and nations, sticking together would be to heed the advice of Sun Tzu: ‘What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy’’

Thursday, June 27, 2019

NO RACISM INVOLVED, YET!


Sunday evening a 17 month-old toddler admitted to Starship after suffering head injuries.

Sixth child of the mother. Another five all removed from her "care" (possession)  by Oranga Tamariki.

No further information due to privacy issues.

How bloody sad!!!

Another week kicks off and another brain damaged little soul for us to support.

The question remains: how many children will she have before sterilisation might be considered, whether by bribery, coercion or just a simple court order?

Six tends to suggest enough already.

Go on snowflakes, fill yer boots.

HAS STEAD BLUNDERED?


New Zealand Cricket team hits the wall.

Williamson wins toss and with a wicket that has been under covers more than in sunshine elects to bat with weather in the mix.

Why he didn't ask the Pakis to bat to see what the wicket would do remains?

With Guptil and Munro both failing again why did they not try Nicholls to try and get one end tied up even if scoring rate suffers?

Should Blundell have a go with the gloves and see if he can out score Latham whose glovework is good but runs not so much?

Does Ish Sodhi get on the park or is he there to provide spin for nets?

Same with Southee.

Now they need to get points from either England or Australia good luck with that.

Clearly the pitch was difficult as the Pakis didnt do it so easy but is it now too late to depart from the one team used so far?

Questions aplenty.

update;

It is apparently a yes, he has admitted as much in particular on the subject of Sodhi and his ability to have exploited the pitch they misread.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SNOWFLAKES GETTING MONSTERED?


Go Fund Me, an Australian equivalent to NZ's "Give a Little", leapt to the high ground with a never-announced credible reason and set about returning the seven hundred thousand dollars raised for Israel Falau's defence of his treatment by Raylene Castle and Rugby Australia over a religious tweet warning  "all" sinners to repent or face Hell,  after suddenly removing the Falau page from their platform

Enter another platform and the Streisand effect intervenes,  twenty four hours later and that original three quarter of a million is obliterated with the new fund reaching one point five million dollars and climbing.

What the dopy buggers are failing to understand is basic. People with money and no skin in the game - as opposed to the idiot CEO of Qantas - are appalled at the apparent hypocritical leaping on a Fundamentalist Christian and his right to express his beliefs, in a demonstration of mob rule. Many of the donors have no connection to any church but see a basic principle being trampled on by people of influence way beyond what a fair minded Aussie sees as right and fair.

Alan Joyce, Peter Fitzsimmons, those who run Go Fund Me ( who incidentally saw no problem with their platform being used to support the little cowardly cretin who smashed an egg on Federal Senator Frazer Anning's head at a public rally) and their other fanatics might just be a tad in error in their crusade against a Pastor of a tiny Christian sect with one little church, who just happens to be a very talented oval ball sport participant.

Oscar Wilde comes to mind in more than one aspect here with his quote;
"There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about"
There is no such thing as "bad publicity", so the whole palaver becomes a "Monster". Castle, Joyce and company might just be a bit disillusioned at how things went South so spectacularly, but getting Genie back in the bottle may be impossible.

I see ANZ are also jumping in with threatening attitudes to Izzy's Missus, who is a not so bad Netball player, because they are major sponsors of netball in NZ, and I think Australia.

My only other comment is, be careful what you wish for: not all are so inclusive about the current rubbish around gender and personal intimate behaviour, being wielded as weapons of mass destruction against traditional values. And unlike the rent-a-mob idiots, many of them have real dosh needing a home.

Update:
The replacement appeal goes past $2 000 000Au.

SAYING LESS MIGHT HAVE BEEN BETTER.


The old adage - say nothing and be thought stupid is better than speaking and removing any doubt -  might apply to the out going finance spokesperson Amy Adams.

Less than eighteen months ago the lady considered she was the  potential leader of the National Party when Sir William English departed. Now she wants "her life back". Had she been successful then would she still be desiring such an outcome?

Politics is not the nicest place to earn a living and it is almost certain her rewards, had she stayed with Law, may well have exceeded what came from being one of the vastly overpaid representatives in world terms as an MP in NZ.

For most of the socialists, the rewards are far in excess of anything they might garner in the real world, hence the clear reluctance for those currently occupying the Treasury benches - should they get a DCM and head back to the other side of the debating chamber and the odious task of Opposition - to ever leave once ensconced.

For the current Opposition however they can easily find rewarding and well paid work almost at will should they leave.

That difference was highlighted in a most unseemly manner when Georgina Beyer found difficulty in getting rewards she felt were rightfully hers after parliament, crawling around the then political leadership for a suitable sinecure and being rebuffed.

So Ms Adams, all the best for your future but maybe the spin was just a little transparently not quite  true. Even just admitting the widely accepted meme that Opposition is the worst job in politics and the Law was attractive, might have worked.

Grunter won't be welcoming Paul Goldsmith methinks, neither will the almost comic ex-police union leader whose hold on Ohariu will now become a bigger hurdle.

Contrast the ease for Mr Bridges in shadow cabinet choices compared to what the PM faces this week in shuffling the deck chairs on her Titanic cluster.

P.S. Ms Ardern, you could take a lead from Ms Adams and get your life back. Oh I forgot, wrapping fish and chips might not be as attractive as a job in Lawyering and Mr Gayford might struggle to make up for the almost half a mill pa. I wonder if Karel has an opening for a freight forwarding position in his lawn mower business?

Democracy dies in Darkness


So in June we've had the 75th anniversaries of The Battle of Midway and the more-widely acknowledged D-Day, plus the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

The last event should be made to grow in importance as an anniversary, for two reasons. First because it's important to show the Chinese Communist government that the old Memory Hole trick won't work outside of China. Secondly because it's a pointer to a rather ugly future, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Several years ago, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, James Fanell, the former director of Intelligence and Information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave testimony to the US House Committee on Intelligence Operations, in which he mapped out where he thinks China is going with all this over the next few decades. It's 48 pages long but worth your time to read.

He talks about the slow, steady buildup of the Chinese military but more importantly about the reasons for it. His argument is that China is focusing on the year 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Communist takeover of China, and the desire to have Taiwan "reunified" by then, preferably without firing a shot.

And the strategy is based on what happened in Tiananmen Square and after:
For the last five years I have postulated a new theory entitled the “Decade of Concern”. Central to the theory is the belief that China has calculated a timeline for when they could use military force at the latest possible moment AND still be able to conduct a grand ceremony commemorating their national restoration in 2049. 
I believe China’s leaders have a template for calculating that date and it is the time period from Tiananmen Square to the 2008 Olympics. 
As you recall in 1989, the international community largely condemned Beijing's actions of slaughtering its own citizens at Tiananmen Square. Yet, just 19 years later the world's leaders flocked to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 
Remember the scene on August 8th 2008 at the Bird's Nest stadium? 
There were tens of thousands of people in the seats watching one of the most impressive Olympic opening ceremonies in history. There at the top of the stadium, in a cool, air-conditioned skybox were the nine members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo (PBCS), looking down over the masses of humanity. At the center of the PBSC was President Hu Jintao, wearing his black Mao suit. President Hu was cool, calm, and collected and what did he see down in those seats, in the 95-degree temperature and 95% humidity? 
Why, it was the President of the United States, with big sweat stains under his armpits, who later went on to describe the event as being "spectacular and successful". 
What was the strategic message from this event? I believe it reinforced a belief among China’s leadership that the West has a short-attention span regarding issues such as crimes against humanity and vicious misuse of military force. 
In short, Beijing believes the West can be counted on to forget even the most barbarous actions after about a 20- year time span.
In other words, the Chinese Communist leadership have to make Taiwan part of a unified China by 2029.

One quibble I have with the analysis is that the leaders of the West didn't even wait a few months, let alone twenty years, to begin ignoring and forgetting the Tiananmen Square massacre. Bush 41 quietly dispatched two top aides to assure Xiaoping that it was business as usual. The rest of the West followed the same path. Admittedly nobody saw the Warsaw pact collapsing less than six months later; Cold War rules still applied.

Bill Clinton condemned Bush for "coddling dictators" but as soon as he was President in 1993 he hailed China as a "strategic partner" and specifically announced that human rights would be "de-linked" from trade, and that continued with Bush 43. Chinese dissidents begged Obama to speak up about Xi Jinping's ruthless crackdown on them, but the Obama administration just wasn't focused on China. And while Trump has gleefully got into a trade war with them, he has shown the same lack of interest in their internal oppression as his predecessors did.


Whatever develops I doubt New Zealand will have much to say about it or "our friends in Beijing"

National MP Jian Yang lied about his Chinese Communist Party past when entering the country, admitting that he did so on instructions from Beijing, and worked for the PLA's Military Intelligence unit. Yet he is apparently a valued member who raises tons of money for National, speaks only to the Chinese media  in NZ and has never said a word against the PRC..

The Labour MP, Raymond Huo, follows a similar path. Chairing Parliament's Justice Committee hearings on foreign interference, he initially opposed any public submissions, claiming government departments could say all there was to be said. How very Xi of him. He's recused himself now, but, exactly like Yang, has solid ties to the PRC Embassy here, to various regime-affiliated United Front bodies, is on record about the opportunity being an MP gave him to champion PRC perspectives on issues like Tibet, and - again exactly like Yang - has never once in his years in Parliament been heard to utter a word critical of the PRC.

Is it any wonder that Bridges and Adern have virtually nothing to say about China's moves. At least they're in good political company locally and internationally.

But it's not just the politicians. The title of this article is the slogan adopted by The Washington Post in the Age of OrangeManBad, and it's the usual pretentious puffery you'd expect the MSM to apply to themselves - along with the word "brave". The picture immediately below the title means the slogan is also a bad joke, as a recent article from the Human Events website, showing what has happened to that "respected" organ of the MSM, explains:
“Recently the Washington Post has started carrying China Daily‘s US edition as a physically separate advertising supplement to the printed paper, as described here. Fine: it’s clearly labeled, and we’ve all gotta stay in business. But now the Post is doing the same thing on its website. Look at this part of the “Washington Post“‘s site as it appears just now, and tell me how obvious it is that you’re seeing a paid presentation of official Chinese government propaganda perspective…”
As Federalist contributor Mark Hemingway said:
“Can someone tell me why a newspaper owned by literally the richest man in the world needs to take money from people running concentration camps?”
To be fair the WaPo's crap reporting on China was strongly criticized by the paper’s own ombudsman in its own pages. But nothing changed. Aside from Human Events, the articles I've linked to come from the Croaking Cassandra blog and exceed in detail and relentless coverage anything you'll find in the local reporting of the NZ MSM.

I did get a bonus black comedy laugh out of another WaPo-China Daily page that Human Events showed:

Whether it's politicians or the MSM, China knows how to spend its money effectively to gain influence in foreign circles and create a soft propaganda wall of defence in the West against attacks on its military and foreign policy plans and objectives - whether the slow strangulation of Hong Kong and the bullshit China is pulling on Vietnam and the Phillipines in the-here-and-now, or with Taiwan in the coming ten year timeframe that so worries Captain Fanell.

I have no doubt what the veterans of Midway and D-Day would have said about how democracy dies, but they would be appalled at who is killing it, how it is being done, and that the anniversary of one of the worst examples of it is largely ignored by Western leaders at the same time that they make paens to those long-ago victories.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DID YOU SEE THAT, NO I THOUGHT NOT.



Yesterday Whaleoil posted a clip of the Skynews Outsiders program hosted by Rowan Dean, Rita Panahi and James Morrow, at around 5 30 pm yesterday June 24th

That is what some others see of the Coalition of  losers our MSM constantly refer to as the Ardern Government. Go and take a squiz cos you will never see such analysis on the sycophantic NZ Media.

Just click on the Highlighted whaleoil, link then scroll back to 5 30 yesterday.

Monday, June 24, 2019

On the road to nowhere......

NZ has some unique problems other countries don't face.....

Under investment in the transport sector for thirty years.

An uncompetitive and very slow road building industry.....they would last 5 mins in Europe

A narrow gauge railway system...what were they thinking?

A Railway system that was sold to a US company to make a few very rich, asset stripped and is in dire need of investment and bigger subsidies and hopefully renationalised.

New Zealand is a linear country, population centres run up and down unlike other countries maybe except Chile. This makes it difficult to build to future proof your investment.

Before the usual suspects start with snowflake commie remarks it should be noted that all the worlds railway systems are tax payer subsidised and mostly state owned with the exception of Japan . In fact the price of rail travel is so cheap several countries are thinking of making it free.

It costs nearly as much as the ticket price to collect, account and finance the ticket system in some countries. It is for the economic benefit of the country if goods and people can be moved swiftly and as cheap as possible. Imagine if there was a high speed rail link between Hamilton and Auckland and how that would affect employment and living standards.....35 minutes @ $15  one way. That is the price you would pay in most EU countries.

Moving freight off the road onto rail should be prioritised as apart from road damage it causes pollution, immense frustration, delay and cost to the motorist and to the country.  It is the trucking industry that is being subsidised by the tax payer as money set aside for repairs is mostly wasted unless it is the first repair and done well. Filling pot holes with aggregate and slapping a seal on  is not a repair and will not last. Unless you start with a good  base on a well made road you are wasting time and money which is why investment is needed, not to repair bad roads but to replace them.

It is a balance between road, rail and coastal shipping that is needed but to do that the Government needs more legislative control because as the British found out the hard way privatisation with shareholders dictating investment did not work out well at all. The worst service in the EU, the highest fares and the dirtiest trains....oh, and the best paid CEO’s.





Roads and Bloggers

Having done some work this afternoon on an issue raised by Psycho Milt as a result of a horrific drive he had from Rotorua to Palmy - Great facepalm moments in NZ Journalism - I realised that I did not have to stick to the restrictions of our comments section, so...

First up is this nice little chart here from NZTA, Revenue & Investment flows 2015-2018 (click to enlarge), which they treat as a three-year period:

Obviously that's largely from the previous government but RUC estimated total revenue was $4,292 million, which comes out as an annual average of $1,430 million.

Now the proportions of this that come from the trucking industry itself don't seem to be broken down, but there was this government study from 2009, which had it at 76% (p. 26).

And of course that RUC calculation already includes the “fourth power" calculation.

So that gives us $1,087 million annual average revenue from the trucking industry: it's likely to be a bit higher in 2018/19. And of course that's not counting revenue from their new vehicle registrations and other road-related charges.

















NZTA also has an interactive page on road maintenance spending.



It shows that in 2016/17 the nation spent $609 million on "Pavement and Sealing", which would seem to cover the specific area of complaint about road damage.

That's 37% of the $1.641 billion spent on "Road Maintenance", which also covers things like (you can click through the above chart):

- $235 million, Corridors
- $309 million, Emergency Reinstatement
- $211 million, Environment & Drainage
- $192 million, Network & Property Management
- $ 84 million, Structures

So it looks to me as if the government revenue from the trucking industry alone more than covers all the spending on repairing road surfaces.

There you go! Courtesy of your local, friendly and unpaid blogger you get information the average "ONE News journalist" was either too clueless or too lazy to dig up.

Now if the road surfaces are still crappy then perhaps we should throw another few hundred million per year at them or even more to get them up to spec, and we can bump the trucking charges further if needed to pay for that. I'm a big believer in user-pays!

But before doing that I’d like to take a very close look at those other line items first to see if some of that should not be re-directed to "Pavement and Sealing".

And that’s before looking at re-directing the spending on poor old hopeless KiwiRail - or cycleways.

Not that those railways should be sold off. As driverless trucks become more commonplace we’ll likely just rip up the rails and use the corridors for dedicated robotic truck convoys.

UNFAIR IF NOT BLOODY MINDED.


I am opposed to much that Islam represents at the highest levels of its clerical rulings and tend to include in that opposition the apparent attitude of millions of adherents who failed to call out the excesses of the faith that became very apparent during the short reign of ISIS.

There were almost daily reports on the agents of the head honchos of that extreme manifestation of radical Islam who ruled over the swathe of territory of Iraq and Syria, now re-conquered, even though some of the fractured ISIS  leadership still exists.

Child brides, anti homosexual sanctions, anti-Christian extreme bias, execution of hostages accompanied by humiliation and propaganda production,  denigration of women including the perpetration of sexual assault on captives, and much more, including some somewhat dodgy military practices at odds with what most current military commanders see as acceptable.

For my beliefs in these matters  I get  regular criticism from snowflake lefties for my apparent "Islamaphobia".

By contrast a Christian rugby player makes a religious proclamation on social media well away from any connection to his work and contractural obligations apart from a rather arguable matter of a Verbal" codicil to the written contract signed by Rugby Australia and himself, regarding his right to express opinions on religion, particularly about sinners who transgress a list of supposed "sins", all within the teachings of his religious beliefs.

Suddenly the media and the snowflakes are mounted upon their white chargers to attack.

Forget the suggestions of condemnation for almost all the remaining listed sinners, concentrating on the one relating to homosexuals, leaving "drunks, adulterators, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators" not to be mentioned again?

Not that Mr Joyce, the openly homosexual CEO of major Rugby Australia sponsor Qantas, would have had any input into the focus on those "men lying with other men"  being singled out as needing protection from being 'offended'.

Now it is reported Falau - who has a half a million Lamborghini and a multi million property portfolio - is again in serious error in beginning a "give a little"  appeal on social media, reported this morning to be over $AU 700 000.

Cripes some people are simple: why do they not see the two bigger campaign factors that the seemingly offensive appeal to many is promoting. Forget the money, it is the publicity.

First it reveals there is significant support both in numbers and the dollars promised for Israel Falau's religious stand against what he sees as serious sins being committed. Let's not overlook the outburst was triggered by the Tasmanian State decision on gender fluidity, something that is disquieting for many,  even some with little religious motivation on the matter.

Secondly his decision to seek public funding has little to do with the financial emphasis but it sure is keeping his fight in the media spotlight.

The extreme irony lies in the more murky attitudes of snowflakes who wish to give the beliefs of Islam a higher protection than those for a minor pastor for a rather minor christian sect with, afaik, only the one church in Sydney where his dad is the main man, and Izzy, who just happens to be a better than average rugby union player.

There are a significant group of largely PI rugby players in both rugby  codes here and in Australia who will hold beliefs aligned to those of Falau and his family, who are being cowed into keeping silent under anti-free speech, anti-religion (certain ones) hysteria sweeping a very corrupt world that is too feeble and scared to call Islam for the Centuries old unchanged barbaric beliefs, yet seems only too quick to viciously attack Judaism and Christianity.

More Muldoon Than Muldoon

You should never let a dummy open his mouth in public.

I give you Joe Biden - the gaffaday Democrat.

“I tell you, I do miss Fritz being here,”

He was referring to the late state Governor Hollings who famously said:-

"African diplomats only attend conferences to get a good square meal, rather than eating each other."

Perhaps it was this which inspired Muldoon to lavish similar praise upon Robert Mugabe,

hattip"-  Instapundit.



Great facepalm moments of NZ journalism


Seen on TVNZ:

Truck drivers say Kiwi roads are urgently in need of repair and nothing's being done

Seen on Psycho Milt while watching the report:



While the journos dutifully reported a transport company owner and the chair of the National Road Carriers' Association telling us all how shocking it is that NZ's roads are in such a state of disrepair, I waited for them to ask the fairly obvious question "So, what are your thoughts on what's causing such terrible damage to the country's roads?"  Because it is an obvious question, isn't it?  We all know that damage to road surfaces is largely a factor of vehicle weight, so complaints about the road surface by owners of the country's heaviest vehicles surely a prompts a question about their role in it? Well, apparently not.  Having aired the truckers' complaints, the journos dutifully went to pester the minister about how he's planning to help the poor, hard-done-by trucking industry.

A long time ago, engineers worked out a useful rule of thumb for assessing how much vehicle weight affects road wear, called the fourth-power rule. A useful description is here:

damage to the roadbed is proportional to the 4th power of the axle load of the vehicle, and they called this “the Generalized Fourth Power Law.” This means that if you double the weight on an axle, your vehicle does sixteen times the damage to the road.

In short: a fully-laden big rig is thousands of times harder on the road surface than a car.  "But that's fine, because there are thousands more cars than big rigs on the roads," I hear you demur.  And, in the cities or the rural backwaters, that's true.  It sure as hell ain't true on the nation's main highways though, which are now a frustrating succession of queues behind big rigs.  I drove from Rotorua to Palmerston North this morning and around every fifth oncoming vehicle was a heavy truck of some description, each one doing thousands of times more damage to the road surface than my car.

So, on the one hand these bleating trucking company owners are right - the country's roads are in terrible disrepair and the government urgently needs to do something about it.  On the other hand, what it needs to do about it is start charging road transport companies the actual cost of their damage to the country's roads.  While they're at it, they could figure out the cost of the delays other drivers suffer due to heavy trucks and charge the companies for that, too. A proper tax on carbon would also help - if road haulage wasn't so heavily subsidised, sending long-distance freight by rail would suddenly look a lot more attractive.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

War Crimes


I was struck by an argument that one of my fellow bloggers put up the other day in the comments section of a thread dealing with the latest fallout about the NZ SAS causing civilian deaths in Afghanistan. It seems worthy of wider discussion than just in comments. 
Every occupation force ever has had that problem if the locals decide to fight back, and it seems like most of them end up killing civilians, because to their troops there's no difference. Unfortunately for the NZ Defence Force, as a result of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS taking a more-than-usually gung ho approach to this back in the 1940s, the world's made it a crime for an occupying force not to recognise a difference between combatants and non-combatants, regardless of how difficult that is.
Actually that was recognised as a crime, or at least a great wrong, long before the 1940's, especially as modern Western-style warfare developed, with the possibility of ever-greater civilian deaths as weapons technology advanced and battlefields enlarged. Similarly with the post-battle situation where the winner occupies the ground won.

In fact it was regarded as so much a crime, that people who refused to identify themselves as combatants and who tried to blend in with the civilian population after doing their attacks, were the ones held to be committing a war crime.

But since that tactic is the standard one of terrorist activity, "modern thought" probably needs to modernise more, otherwise it's never going to be possible to fight back against such people who refuse to recognise that law because they know such refusal gives them their only way to win.

If you condemn the forces trying to fight back against these combatants and killing civilians in the process - which, given the deliberate lack of identification of civilian from combatant will be almost impossible to avoid - then you're effectively abandoning the very laws that are supposed to protect civilians.

The Wehrmacht and SS were convicted, or at least prosecuted, not because they were "gung ho" about this, but because they quite deliberately made no effort to differentiate between combatants and civilians in situations where they easily could have, and also deliberately targeted civilians who had no way to defend themselves or call on others to defend them.

By contrast, Luftwaffe bomber pilots and Wehrmacht artillery officers - and for that matter the Wehrmacht infantry officers who ordered in their strikes, as well as U-boat commanders sinking merchant ships and not rescuing their crews - were never even considered for prosecution for war crimes, even though civilians died in their attacks and it was well understood in advance that they would die. 

The reason was not that their Allied counterparts had done the same, but that such acts were not held to be war crimes for the very sensible reason that it's understood there is a difference between deliberately targeting civilians and killing civilians as you try to come to grips with an enemy trying to kill you. Even the civilians in cities being bombed had anti-aircraft and fighter defences that killed the attackers - something the Untermensch of Eastern Europe entirely lacked once the German front lines swept past them.

These guys are locals legitimately fighting guerrilla warfare against a foreign occupying force.

During the famous Warsaw Uprising in WWII, the Polish people who chose to fight, deliberately identified themselves as combatants as best they could, typically with red-white armbands matching the Polish flag. That truly was guerrilla warfare, which is a legally acknowledged aspect of war fighting. But even guerrillas try to distinguish themselves from civilians, which is one of several things that differentiates them from terrorists. 

Even though they were locals fighting for their homeland against actual Nazis - who they already knew had committed war crimes and knew would commit more - the Polish fighters were willing to abide by that minimal rule of warfare, even if it granted them little or nothing from their enemies.

That is decidely not what the Taliban in Afghanistan and others like them around the world are doing. They are committing a basic war crime every time they fight by pretending to be civilians and using civilians as cover. They do so deliberately. They don't care. In fact they want civilians to be killed because that aids their cause - especially when they have Westerners unwilling to hold them responsible in any meaningful, practical way.

There is no way of preventing them from committing those war crimes other than to capture or kill them. These rules of war have no global court, no global police force to enforce them. In order to have a chance of working they rely upon reciprocity: if that is not permitted then the laws mean nothing.
Modern opinion rightly sees the solution to that difficulty as being to not put your troops in a position where they're a foreign occupation force.
In practice it will mean that soldiers dumped into "peace-keeping" duties as a "foreign occupation force" in a future East Timor or Kosovo, not just an Iraq or Afghanistan, will be nothing more than objects for target practice, under ROE's (Rules Of Engagement) that mean they'll effectively be defenceless. In that case we should just refuse to be part of any future UN force as well - perhaps especially the UN, given their desire for highly restrictive ROE's.

Basically this "modern" thinking effectively gives a thumbs up to waging war through the commission of war crimes - even as it proclaims opposition to war crimes. 

And that's if we're willing to treat these reactions and objections as having been made in good faith by the likes of Hager. I think their bottom-line is simply to make sure that New Zealand, if not the wider Western world, never again takes part in a foreign war.

Fair enough: I just wish they would be as honest and up-front about that as genuine pacifists are.

Ho Ho Ho

Just for David Farrar:-

Embedded video




And my favorite, by a long chalk!

















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The economic Messiah

A quote assigned to Stalin famously rejected the importance of voters: it’s who counts them that matters. In today's Kremlin, how they are counted is, it would seem, just as important.

Last week, a new poll by state pollsters VTsIOM revealed a worrying state of affairs for the Kremlin elite. Only 31.7 per cent of respondents said they trusted their president. The new baseline, which represented a 13-year low, led usually loyal publications to conclude that Russians were close to being totally fed up with Vladdy.

Oh what to do, what to do.......I know we’ll change the methodology. Eureka, now the most trusted man on the planet.

And on the other side of the pond Vladdy is still running rings around the White house incumbent. Russia is still feeding “technical” experts into Venezuela which is quietened done somewhat..1-nil.

 Agreed that Huawei could run Russia’s emerging 5G comms system...wow, the most private paranoiac country in the world. Must have closed all the back doors...2-nil.

Now we have a Russia/Iran trade deal in energy supplies and I’m sure that will lead to other deals including food and medicine.....3-nil.

In the mean time the red faced child obsessed with what Fox news says about him has reduced the dignity and gravitas of the White House by insulting tweets to whomever incurs his displeasure.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

MY THANKS TO LORD EGBUT

for his comment, in response to my ascertain on another thread that the Operation Burnham Inquiry was costly farce predicated on a lie, that 'my lot' was worse having initiated the Maori Veteran's Kaupapa Inquiry which continues to this day having cost mega bucks.   

Sorry Egbut but get your facts right.   The Waitangi Tribunal is a permanent Commission of Inquiry established under its own Act.   It is beholden only to itself and, as such, can go off on any frolic of fancy as it thinks fit.   The genie was really let out of the bag when 'your lot' initiated a law change allowing the Tribunal to investigate claims extending back to 1840 (prior to that it could only investigate claims post 1975).    The Maori Veterans Kaupapa Inquiry is a creature of that law change.

But all that aside it is timely to have a discussion on whether the Waitangi Tribunal has run its course with the pending settlement of most land claims remembering of course that the Tribunal can only make recommendations that Government (any government) can either accept or reject in whole or in part ... the standout example being their recommendations in respect of the seabed and foreshore dispute which were studiously ignored by the Clark administration (leading to the establishment of the Maori Party).

The Tribunal operates on an inquisitorial basis as opposed to an adversarial one.    It is not bound by the rules of evidence and honestly held belief is given weight.   It has spawned a whole generation of 'researchers' along with a variety of law firms including the good, the bad and the ugly all of whom have fashioned a comfortable living from the grievance industry.   An industry that is self perpetuating.   Old ones are dealt with; new ones arise (or are manufactured).  

For myself I am persuaded to the view that time's up for the Waitangi Tribunal.   It has morphed from settling grievances into promoting and sustaining grievances to the point where it has become the problem rather than the solution.

The answer ... ditch the Waitangi Tribunal and have the Courts determine grievances in the same way as they do for the other 85% of New Zealanders. 

And yes Egbut ... I agree.   The Maori Veterans Kaupapa Inquiry is a farce ... per courtesy of 'your lot'.

I wish I hadn't said that!!

Last night while watching the first couple of hours of the Sri Lanka v England match at Headingly I heard former England Captain Nasser Hussain say - at about the 25/30 over mark.

Not an exact quote because I did not write it down or record it - but he said:

`Sri Lanka have to get a move on - 280 will not be anywhere near enough against this England batting line up.

Well Nasser 232 was more than enough and even 215 might have done the trick.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A 'TAIL' OF TWO PARTIES

For the Conservatives and it's now down to their grassroots membership to decide who will be the UK's next Prime Minister.    Johnson the Brexitier vs Hunt the Remainer.    With Johnson Brexit will happen.   With Hunt, who knows.   What I'm certain of is that if Brexit doesn't happen the Tory Party will split and lose the next election.  

It would be far too easy to write Johnson off as a buffoon and serial philanderer (as if serial philandering has ever been a bar to high political office).    He's certainly no fool evidenced by his winning of a King's Scholarship to study at Eton and then a second scholarship to read Classics at Ballioi College Oxford and he's certainly predictable in his unpredictability but that has to be balanced against his ability to win elections including two as Lord Mayor of London where he defeated 'Red' Ken Livingstone.     Johnson is a risk but he's not bland and perhaps, just perhaps, in populist vs bland (Corbyn), populist could come out 'trumps'.  

Meanwhile on planet Labour all is a twitter.   Tom Watson, Labour's Deputy Leader (perhaps better known for his catchphrase 'I'll never leave Labour but sometimes I feel it's as if Labour's leaving me') is pleading with Corbyn to stop being a pussy and do the right thing and commit the Party to holding a second referendum on Brexit even though it might well cost them seats in those areas, particularly in the North where the Labour vote is concentrated, where the Brexit vote is strong.    And then of course,, galloping to the Tory Party rescue comes John McDonnell, Labour Shadow Chancellor, with his quite extraordinary statement that a Corby led Labour Government would give financial and political support to Cuba's repressive regime and become that countries 'staunchest ally'.     Methinks that will go down in the electorate like a cup of warm sick.   Crosby Textor (or perhaps Topham Guerin) will be rubbing their hands with glee.   Dumb, dumb politics.

I do so luv blood sports.