Dunedin anti development again

Dunedin already has a reputation for being anti-development, unless it’s University related, they seem to do what they like.

Mosgiel is the fastest growing part of Dunedin (one of the only growing parts). So Countdown applied for resource consent to build a supermarket there.

But a Dunedin City Council planner has recommended that consent be declined, as reported by ODT in Planner strikes a blow to proposal.

The recommendation comes on the basis the supermarket would have significant ”adverse affects” on the community.

The plan for a new Countdown on Gordon Rd, which was predicted to add 48 jobs, prompted concern among Mosgiel residents.

There were nine submissions against the development, citing increased traffic, pedestrian safety, noise and insufficient on-site parking among residents’ concerns, three submissions in support and six neutral.

I can imagine a Countdown supermarket might have an adverse effect on the profits of the existing New World supermarket, and sure it would effect traffic flows.

Council planner Amy Young’s opinion is one piece of evidence to be considered when the council’s hearings committee convenes to hear submissions next week.

In the report, Ms Young said she did not agree with Countdown’s argument the supermarket would maintain and enhance amenity values in what was a residential zone.

”I disagree with this statement and believe that the applicant has made no concessions in terms of designing a development that can integrate with, rather than dominate the residential environment.”

Ms Young also said Countdown’s application lacked detail about two other retail sites, pedestrian safety and residential amenity.

I thought a place to be food would be an essential residential amenity. And spreading out traffic and being closer to some parts of town would be an advantage.

It may be that Countdown has been not thorough enough in it’s application.

But on the surface this seems just another nail in Dunedin’s development coffin.

Peters cranky under pressure

I wonder how many Northland voters will be attracted to Mr Cranky?

“I don’t know how long you’ve been in this country …” Winston Peters, when trying to avoid a question from Susie Ferguson.

“…I don’t know how long you’ve been in this country…” Winston Peters to @SusieFergusonNZ . Bit off.

She probably owns a house here too.

It’s more than a bit off. The problem is that some other media seems addicted to their Mr Cranky attraction.

Trotter spells out reality for Labour and Northland

Chris Trotter has posted Sorry Winston: Why Labour needs to stand in Northland at The Daily Blog.

He shouldn’t be sorry, politics is politics. Labour need to fight for their own recovery and not hand Peters the limelight in the runner-up stakes.

And the ideological worriers of the left wing blogosphere are not what successful recoveries and elections are made of.

Not that the Labour Party was ever the slightest bit interested in finding out if Winston could win the Northland by-election.

Andrew Little’s eyes are fixed upon an altogether more distant electoral horizon – 2017. He is convinced that unless his own party becomes the unequivocally dominant Opposition player, the electorate as a whole will continue to shy away from the prospect of a coalition government in which Labour is merely primus inter pares – first among equals.

In the most brutal political terms, this means driving both the Greens and NZ First right down to the 5 percent MMP threshold. To be seen as a credible alternative to the National-led Government, Labour needs to command at least 40 percent of the Party Vote, and Andrew Little must be rated as John Key’s equal.

Labour will not get there by giving every Green and NZ First Party sucker an even break.

They’d be suckers to capitulate to Winston. Little doesn’t look like a sucker, hence for the first time for six years Labour’s fortunes look more promising.

This is now the real mission of Andrew Little and his team. To find the means of both reassuring and activating Labour’s base.

It does mean acknowledging the consistent messages being sent to the party by those who feel themselves to be Labour, but who no longer believe that Labour feels itself to be them.

Standing with these voters will, almost certainly, mean that a vociferous, but much smaller, number of voters will end up walking away. Little must let them go.

That won’t please a handful of hard left would be revolutionaries at The Daily Blog and The Standard but the more massive middle vote is far more important to Labour than theirs (and they are more likely to vote Green or Mana anyway).

The job of winning them back isn’t his, it belongs to Labour’s own (yet to be properly organised) ideological ninjas. On the blogs, Facebook and Twitter; over bottles of beer at the pub; or glasses of wine at the dinner-table; the labour movement’s oldest lessons must be rehearsed again and again: “If we don’t stick together, then we won’t fight together. If we won’t fight together – then we can’t win.”

I wouldn’t bank on that, the ideological ninjas in the blogosphere are blindly shitting in their own nest and driving away people interested in seeing if Labour is worth returning to.

The Left needs to accept and understand that the “we” in those sentences is directed at Labour’s once and future voters. Not the Greens’ – and certainly not NZ First’s.

That’s something the ninja worriers at The Daily Blog and The Standard can’t fathom. Successful elections are all about far more voters than them.

Spy ‘revelations’ a flood or a trickle?

Yesterday John Key tried to pre-empt the flood of spy revelations due today. TVNZ reported:

PM: Discount massively everything Nicky Hager says today

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has promised a big reveal today about New Zealand’s secret spying operations, but the Prime Minister shot down the allegations before they were even made yesterday.

Mr Hager begins a series of revelations from today which he claims show which countries our spies have targeted, when and why.

He said he had spent the last year working through information collected by ex-US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

NZ Herald didn’t cover that but are leading the revelation charge this morning.

#snowdenNZ : Leaked documents show New Zealand spies on its Pacific friends and sends the data to the US

EXCLUSIVE: GCSB collects phone calls, emails and internet data from NZ’s closest and most vulnerable neighbours, secret papers reveal.

New Zealand’s spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country’s closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive andwhistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s files reveal a heavy focus on “full-take collection” from the Pacific with nearly two dozen countries around the world targeted by our Government Communications Security Bureau.

Information from across the Pacific is collected by New Zealand’s GCSB but sent onto the United States’ National Security Agency to plug holes in its global spying network, the documents show.

Being ‘exclusive’ makes this look like a carefully managed and packaged release.

That New Zealand collects information from across the Pacific is not a revelation, it would have been very surprising if they didn’t.

Mr Key said it was “bizarre” to reveal details about intelligence at a time when New Zealand faced a terror threat. “We’ve got the situation where we’ve Isil reaching out to cause harm to New Zealanders.”

He said he would not reveal details of intelligence but said it was done for “really, really good reasons”.

When quizzed mid-afternoon he said he had no idea what would be revealed. But, pointing to Hager’s election bombshell Dirty Politics, he said: “Nicky Hager was wrong last time. His information is old. I guarantee you it will be wrong this time.”

Challenged on claims of fabrication, John Key’s office couldn’t point to any basis for the claim.

Hager and the Herald have been researching this for months – Hager said “he had spent the last year working through information “. Key is just finding out today what they have chosen to uncover. We can expect him to fight back some more.

Also:

#snowdenNZ / The price of the Five Eyes club: Mass spying on friendly nations and sending vast amounts of intelligence to NSA

Another headline leading with a hash tag followed by a Twitter sized bite, obviously targeting a wide social media audience.

Leaked Snowden files show most of GCSB’s targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as Government suggests

New Zealand’s electronic surveillance agency has dramatically expanded its spying operations during the years of John Key’s National Government and is automatically funnelling vast amounts of intelligence to the US National Security Agency, top-secret documents reveal.

Since 2009, the Government Communications Security Bureau intelligence base at Waihopai has moved to “full-take collection”, indiscriminately intercepting Asia-Pacific communications and providing them en masse to the NSA through the controversial NSA intelligence system XKeyscore, which is used to monitor emails and internet browsing habits.

NZH balances this coverage with a link to something they published in September last year.:

John Key ‘comfortable’ that NSA is not spying on NZ

Prime Minister John Key says he can’t give an absolute assurance New Zealanders are not subject to mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) but he is “comfortable” that is not happening.

Mr Key this afternoon said he was “sure it’s absolutely true” that former NSA analyst Edward Snowden had the capacity to see information about New Zealanders when he worked for the agency, but that information would not have come from mass surveillance programmes run by this country’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

They highlighted:

- Key concedes claim NZ data may be accessible through XKeyscore
– Says NZ contributes some information to Five Eyes databases
– “But not mass, wholesale surveillance as people might say”
– No evidence of mass surveillance, says security chief

These claims will no doubt be compared to the current flood of revelations.

This is all going to take some digesting and thrashing over to see if there’s anything damning to New Zealand.

And expect John Key to keep playing it down and claiming things have moved on from when Snowden got his data anyway.

It will take a day or few to work out if there are any remarkable revelations,or if it’s a trickle rather than a flood for Key and his Government.

Or if it’s little different to same-old spying that at the most most people will shrug at it and carry on with their lives, clinging to their mobile phones and tablets to keep them connected to the world wide web of intrigue.

“Labour can never again govern alone”

Felix is fuming at The Standard because Labour aren’t capitulating to Winston Peters in the Northland by-election.

This is despite the facts that Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime announced her candidacy on February 9 and launched her campaign on Saturday February 21. Peters didn’t announce he was standing until Saturday February 28 and he launched his campaign yesterday, March 4. If Labour now pulled Prime out they would be rightly ridiculed.

Undeterred by political reality Felix states:

It’s an opportunity to build a platform for governing with other parties, and to be seen to be doing so. You know Labour can never again govern alone, right?

Wrong. It’s not possible to know that. But that doesn’t deter Felix from dripping bittterness and cynicism.

 Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?

Ah, there’s that Labour party spirit. Working strategically with other parties on common goals = destroying the organisation.

Ropata:Rorschach responded:

The best strategy for Labour is to build their profile and voter base.
Why would they throw away years of effort from local volunteers to push dear old Winnie, whose values and popularity are highly questionable.

That all seems very sensible, except to Felix:

Pretty sad state of affairs if that’s the best Labour can hope for.

Sometimes I wonder if it has sunk in yet that Labour will never be able to govern alone.

Never.

Ever.

And:

ps building cooperative allegiances and laying the groundwork for future governing arrangements isn’t throwing away all the hard work. Quite the opposite.

Plodding along with the same old same old while you wait for the world to change back, that’s throwing it all away.

Throwing a by-election and handing everything over the an unreliable opponent is the sort of thing that would enhance Labour’s chances of never governing alone, never, ever.

They would look like an also-ran party, or a didn’t-stand party. For a major party that would be an awful look.

Ok, Labour’s chances of governing completely alone are slim under MMP. But their chances of being the dominant party in a coalition with minor parties has to be a primary goal. Otherwise they would consign themselves to being one of a number of minor parties.

Labour got a very poor result in last year’s election, ending up with 25.13% of the vote. But no other party came close to them for second place, with Greens stagnating at 10.7% support. NZ First were next on 8.66%. Combined all three still lagged National’s 47%.

But just four elections earlier National slumped to 20.93% (in 2002) and recovered from that to be close to beating Labour three years later and successful and close to governing alone six years later. And repeated that twice since, now virtually being able to govern alone (needing just one vote from any of three parties to get a majority).

Labour have to aim at being the big steak on the plate and not resign themselves to being a vegetable amongst a left wing salad.

And to be seen as a prospect for this they have to seriously compete in the Northland by-election.

And Willow-Jean Prime, in the prime of her life, has to significantly better a faded old star who is trying to be seen as relevant again.

Labour’s recovery prospects demands that they soundly beat Peters in the by-election.

If an ambitious young woman can’t thrash a wilting Winston – he first stood for Parliament in 1975, about eight years before Prime was born – then Labour’s prospects for the future would look bleak.

But that’s probably what Felix really wants. It’s not that Labour can’t be a dominant party again, it’s more like Felix sees them as an impediment in a dream of a hard left revolution.

Open Forum – Thursday

5 March 2015

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Sensible Standard on Northland

There’s a good by-election post on The Standard on Northland. It’s by Lynn Prentice – yeah I have a few disagreements with him at times and he’s a bit of an old school political Neanderthal but he has a lot of campaign experience.

Amongst his typical verbosity but he makes some pertinent points based on reality, against some really dumb and unrealistic whining.

Looking at the numbers and the situation I can neither see Winston or Willow-Jean Prime winning on their own even if the other was not there.

But even if there was, there are definite downsides for a political party in asking any electorate candidate to stand aside. First they may not do it and even go independent, and secondly it destroys the local electorate organisation that has to fight in future elections for party and electorate votes.

One thing he doesn’t point out is that Peters says he is vehemently against doing any deal anyway, (but it’s hard to be certain, his laid on by media appearances have been punctuated by smirking laughter).

Voters, especially on the left, make up their own minds who to vote for. A lot of the marking around with parties that are roughly on the same ‘side’ is simply offputting to voters.

Candidates and political parties should damn well fight their own corner and not expect other parties to help them. That is what the voters expect.

Voters are going to make up their own minds about their tactical voting.

If one of those two parties were my only available choice, I’d be likely to simply not vote.

Those who total up the votes from the general election and conjure out of that a possible majority for one candidate are dreaming.

Talking of dreamers there’s a few comments protesting against lprent’s reality check but they tend to be those on the fringe waiting for a fairy godmother initiated revolution.

Felix shows why all he has usually got is bitter niggling:

 Where is the advantage for Labour

This is exactly what pisses me off about the thinking of many in or around Labour. For a party built on collective action and solidarity they have no fucking idea how to behave as part of a larger whole.

Felix keeos showing at The Standard that he has idea how to behave as part of a larger whole.

There’s others with real political experience commenting. Karen:

Labour has absolutely nothing to gain by standing aside for Winston, who has no chance of winning anyway IMO.

Jono:

Labour would have been tarred and feathered for doing any deals.

Jenny Kirk:

There are huge numbers of Labour supporters somewhere out there in Northland, and it is Labour’s responsibility to provide them with a good candidate to vote for.

Real Labour people find it very difficult to vote anything but Labour – whether in an FPP or MMP voting situation. And if Labour withdrew its candidate for Northland, there would probably be wholescale walkout and decades loss of trust in the Party.

Labour is rebuilding itself, and this by-election gives the Party a chance to show people what it is about, and to talk about what it could do if in government.

And:

There is always that niggly little doubt about Winston : has he ever said what he really means, and has he ever done (other than the gold card for superannuitants) what he’d say he’d do if he had the power to do so.

There’s as much “niggly little doubt” about Winston’s reliability as there is niggly little doubt about his youth.

The media will help Winston as much as they can but that risks exposing him more and turn futility into embarrassing failure.

All those who are frantically trying to talk up a free run for Peters are likely to do is turn people off voting left. And probably off voting at all.

The Northland by-election is a good small step in Labour’s rebuilding process.

And if the frantic numpties really slowed down enough to think about things then if Labour with Willow-Jean Prime perform credibly and Peters bums out that could spell the beginning of the end of his career.

NZ First out of the equation in the 2017 election should boost Labour’s vote share and the Left’s chances.

Lprent can have the last word.

Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?

Lest we forget – clever image of sacrifice

At a glance this looks very familiar to Kiwis.

A closer look shows some very clever artistry.

I’m not a tattoo fan but that’s very cool as a meaningful image.

Couldn’t do anything like that with our current flag.

Oddly this was on an Australia news site: New Zealand war veteran’s ANZAC tattoo sparks social media frenzy

When New Zealand man Bruce Neal left a Wellington tattoo parlour last week, he knew he was doing so with a permanent mark on his chest; but little did he know the mark he was about to make on social media.

The 59-year old war veteran waited 41 years until he came across a design he loved – a series of ANZAC soldiers made up in the shape of New Zealand’s iconic emblem, the silver fern. The words ‘Lest We Forget’ are written underneath.

He saw the image on a Wellington waterfront where WWI soldiers had left for Gallipoli around a century ago, and when his wife spotted the same design on television soon afterwards, Mr Neal knew it was a sign.

“I thought ‘that’s it’. That means something to me,” Mr Neal said.

It means a lot to me as well, and I suspect to many Kiwis.

Lest we forget.

Kevin Hague – Greens on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

Kevin Hague: “What we’re trying to achieve is that to ensure that drug use causes as little harm as it possibly can.”

“One is around medicinal cannabis, and it’s very clear that a very large majority of New Zealanders support better access to medicinal cannabis ”

“Our policy says that there should be no penalty for personal use or cultivation up to a certain point.”

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Transcript of the Kevin Hague interview.

Garner: So where do the Greens stand on this? And will we see some kind of public debate? Or is it simply too hard for our politicians given what America’s doing. Is it time we caught with this or do we just watch and follow, Who knows.

Kevin Hague is the Green drugs policy spokesperson. What are your views in what’s happening in America?

Hague: Oh look I think it’s a very interesting thing, because what we are seeing I guess particularly from Colorado where we’ve probably got the best information so far and probably the longest history so far…

…is that the kinda dire predictions about increased use and increased harm haven’t come about. That actually evidence is pretty strong that there’s actually if anything been reduced harm, and as you mentioned in your intro actually there’s a bit of a dilemma for Colorado legislators, what are they going to do with all the money that’s come in.

Garner: Well the answer to that question could be that it goes into the health system, or it goes into the education system.

Hague: Yes precisely.   What we’ve been calling for is a rational approach to drugs in general and I guess cannabis in particular, where we look at what is it that we’re trying to achieve.

What we’re trying to achieve is that to ensure that drug use causes as little harm as it possibly can.

Garner: So do you think Kevin, if I can take you right back to the start. Do you think we need to change the law here?

Hague: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve been standing for this for a long time because it’s very clear that the current law is not achieving that goal.

The current law is I mean if you just take the simple fact that most New Zealanders have used cannabis. Well clearly the law as it stands is not reducing demand, and in fact is putting a lot of people in harms way because if New Zealanders are needing to go to you know gangs for example to get their supply well those gangs aren’t concerned with quality or ensuring that under age people don’t get access.

Or ensuring that people who need treatment for example are actually referred. Those are all things that we could do if we changed the law. As well as the medicinal aspects.

Garner: Right, so what would you do with the law? if you were able to draft something and start lobbying around Parliament and get 61 votes, what would a law look like for you?

Hague: Well I guess there’s two different arenas.

One is around medicinal cannabis, and it’s very clear that a very large majority of New Zealanders support better access to medicinal cannabis and you’ll know that we put a bill to Parliament in 2009 and got 34 votes out of 120.

Things have changed over the last five or six years. Apart from the Government.

But the step forward we need to make in that area, more generally our policy says that there should be no penalty for personal use or cultivation up to a certain point.

Garner: Would you decriminalise rather than legalise?

Hague: Our policy is kind of doesn’t use either of those words, and we’re currently actually in light of the experience in the United States and Portugal and other jurisdictions we are looking at overhauling our own policy.

To be completed later.

Medicinal Cannabis, its not Brain Surgery…..

hemisphere
Just a a quick post today. I have heard second hand anecdotal stories from a NZ Refugee to Colorado, that CBD rich Cannabis oil has worked on children for seizures where a much more drastic (and rare) procedure has failed.

I present to you the most radical and invasive treatment for seizures generated by only part of the brain, the Hemispherectomy.  Judging from this picture, it is as bad as it sounds.  Despite being so drastic, it actually has good results on average, with a close to 75% success rate.  Almost the entire Hemisphere of the brain that has unusual activity leading to seizures is removed…..

The brain has a significant ability to recover from this procedure, (neuroplasticity) and generally, the younger the procedure is preformed, the better the results. It actually doesn’t effect cognition as such when done young, in the happier cases, kids can obtain above average academically. Most are left with physical symptoms similar to a stroke, blindness or vision issues in one eye, and motor impairments down one side of the body, though these side effects pale into comparison to the risks for children on the medical equivalent of death row.

Although not part of the Hippocratic Oath, a key principle guiding modern medicine is  “first, do no harm” which is where the preference for Conservative or Non-invasive treatments stems from. So we have a dilemma, the use of an experimental medicine with scant but positive scientific research and attached legal baggage, versus a rare, but extreme, and on average effective treatment for those children with life threatening seizures.

As a parent, how would you feel if you agreed to lop off a chunk of your child’s brain, and the procedure fails…… desperate?

Desperate enough to move to Colorado to try something new? How would you then feel if you reduced the frequency, duration and severity of seizures by over 75% with a fairly basic plant derived preparation??

pretty good? how about only trying it after already having lopped out a sizeable chunk of you child’s brain?
Guilty in hindsight, though to be fair, this is new ground.

Going forward I would lay the blame at the surgeons feet, as the evidence continues to stack up in favor of Medicinal Cannabis, there is no excuse to not try a moderate risk drug over such a radical procedure…..

Out

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