Beware the quiet ones

Sarah was in the fertilised egg business. She had several hundred young pullets and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

She kept records and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

This took a lot of time, so she bought some tiny bells and attached them to her roosters. Each bell had a different tone, so she could tell from a distance which rooster was performing. Now, she could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.

Sarah’s favourite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen but, this morning she noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all! When she went to investigate, she saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To Sarah’s amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring. He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job, and walk on to the next one.

Sarah was so proud of old Butch, she entered him in a Show and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the “No Bell Peace Prize” they also awarded him the “Pulletsurprise” as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention?

Vote carefully in the next election. You can’t always hear the bells.

(I don’t know the source, someone sent this to me)

Otago shooting threat – hoax or not it’s a problem

Yesterday an anonymous person posted a threat on the 4chan bulletin board of a shooting massacre at Otago University on Wednesday. It was then copied to Reddit and Facebook.


Whether this is a stupid hoax or a serious threat it is causing a lot of problems and anxiety.

What is 4chan?

4chan is a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images. There are boards dedicated to a variety of topics, from Japanese animation and culture to videogames, music, and photography. Users do not need to register an account before participating in the community.

Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 at Virginia Tech in 2007.

This afternoon the police put out a statement:

Otago University threat

National News

Dunedin Police are aware of a threat made via an online post that relates to the University of Otago.

Specialist staff are actively investigating the post with assistance from the High Tech Crime Group in Wellington.  Police are also working closely with the Vice-Chancellor and the University.

“Police would like to reassure University staff and students, and the wider Dunedin community, that appropriate measures are being taken in relation to the post,” says Inspector Mel Aitken, acting Area Commander: Otago Coastal.

“Police take any threat seriously while its source and authenticity is being assessed.

“Our advice at this time is to be alert and vigilant but not alarmed while our investigation is ongoing.

“Police will be maintaining a high visibility presence in the area and taking other appropriate steps which we are unable to discuss publicly.

“We are also asking those in the University area to report any suspicious behaviour immediately to Police.

“We understand that a threat of this nature could be concerning to some people. Police, University of Otago and Campus Watch staff will be available to speak with anyone who has concerns.

“Police is experienced at assessing a range of threats and we investigate any matter of concern which comes to our attention. We are also mindful of the possibility of “copy cat” threats following high profile events which occur overseas.   We will deal firmly with any individuals associated with any such copy cat threats.

“Police will communicate any further advice necessary as our investigation progresses, and we will continue to work closely with the University of Otago.” said Inspector Aitken.

So will life go on as usual in Dunedin tomorrow? There are many students and staff at Otago, some of them will have some real concerns for obvious reasons. I know people personally with close associations with the University who have concerns.

Whatever the intent and motives of the person who posted the threat the effects of something like this can be huge.

It shows that in a normally boring old backwater like Dunedin one person can cause major problems without even doing anything real.

And if the person is serious the problems increase substantially.

A state of peaceful living can be easily and quickly be overturned.

Labour’s TPPA reaction will be interesting

In July Andrew Little put out five bottom lines for them on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, as well as some anti-TPPA populist grizzles – Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty.

The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.

“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty.

“A meeting of the Labour Caucus this week agreed on five key principles which will be non-negotiable bottom lines to protect New Zealand’s interests when the agreement finally makes it to Parliament.

“Labour is pro free trade, as evidenced by the China Free Trade Agreement we signed in 2008.

And the TPPA was initiated by a Clark led Labour government in 2008 with Phil Goff a major player.

“Labour will not support the TPP if it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. This means:
•    Pharmac must be protected
•    Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
•    New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreigner buyers
•    The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
•    Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access

“The bottom line for Labour is that New Zealand’s sovereign rights must be protected. Anything else is unacceptable.”

(Populist grizzles edited out)

At a glance on preliminary reports on what has been agreed Labour’s bottom lines may have been met enough for them to support the TPPA.

A Herald editorial points out an awkward position Labour are in after Helen Clark said it would be unthinkable for New Zealand to not be a part of such a trade agreement.

Clark’s words on trade deal badly needed

Sometimes it takes someone a little removed from the fray to put the right perspective on an issue.

New Zealanders have sorely needed such insight on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so deeply polarised are they about its potential benefit to this country.

And there could be few people better placed to supply this than former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Ms Clark’s statement, a rare one on a domestic issue since she became the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, emphasised how foolish that would be.

What had always haunted her as prime minister, she said, was the development of a series of trade blocs of which New Zealand was not part. That would be “unthinkable” for this country as an export-orientated, small trading nation.

“So, of course, New Zealand has to be in on the action with the TPP and go for the very best deal it can as the agreement expands beyond the original four economies to a wider regional agreement.”

Ms Clark’s statement also carried a message for her former Labour colleagues.

Curiously for a party that formerly embraced free trade, it has insisted its support for the TPP is contingent on the meeting of several “non-negotiable bottom lines”.

Labour may imagine this plays well with those people adamantly opposed to the pact.

But most importantly, as its former leader implies, it reveals a failure to to appreciate the big picture. That dictates a small trading nation cannot afford to stand aside from an agreement of such magnitude for the Asia-Pacific region.

So will Labour support the agreement they initiated or oppose it?

Annette King is being interviewed on Breakfast now and she is hedging her bets, saying the devil is in the detail and while she had a dig at secrecy and public engagement she said they would have to wait and see what is actually in the whole detail.

That may give time for Labour to work out a plausible position on the TPPA.

Trotter on TPPA and “the storm of change that is coming”

Chris Trotter seems to have rushed into uninformed eloquence over the Trans Pacific Partnership news this morning – scant details of the agreement are available but there is nothing out yet on “much that is precious” passing away, or “loss of power”, or “the second great wave of colonisation” washing over us.

The TPPA is a trade agreement between twelve countries, in general improving the opportunities for trade between al these countries.

I don’t know how increasing trade between eleven other Pacific Rim countries will result in a furious storm that will “blow us far away”.

There will be a furious storm of protest in New Zealand from some long time opponents of the TPPA and of international trade agreements – Jane Kelsey will be more devastated by this agreement than the English were over their World Cup failure – but they have been blowing so hard against the TPPA already it will be little more than repeat performances with less ammunition available.

Trotters full post:

The TPPA Deal Is Done: Reflections On The Struggles To Come.

NEW ZEALANDERS are heading into a great storm of change. Much that is precious to us will pass away. As Pakeha we have grown accustomed to being the colonisers rather than the colonised. Loss of power will be a new experience for us. As the second great wave of colonisation washes over us, our best chance of survival will be to reach out our hands to thetangata whenua – whose feet are sunk deepest in the earth of Aotearoa. In the storm of change that is coming, the strength which that position gives to Maori will make them the only solid point around which everything else twists and turns. If we, as Pakeha, do not reach out and grasp that strength, the fury of the storm will blow us far away.

Deliberate or not he centred the post in a single paragraph.

As a trading nation our future is very reliant on trade with other countries. There’s little future in the protest movement.

The anti-TPPA storm that is coming will mostly be confined to a teacup.

Key on Trans Pacific Partnership agreement

Initial reaction from John Key on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement being reached.

New Zealand’s biggest trade deal, the TPP, has been agreed.

Embedded image permalink

Via Radio NZ:

Prime Minister John Key said the trade deal would will eliminate tariffs on 93 per cent of New Zealand’s exports to new FTA partners the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Peru.

Dairy exporters would have access to these markets through newly created quotas, in addition to tariff elimination on a number of products.

“We’re disappointed there wasn’t agreement to eliminate all dairy tariffs but overall it’s a very good deal for New Zealand,” Mr Key said in a statement.

Tariffs on all other New Zealand exports to TPP countries will be eliminated, he said, with the exception of beef exports to Japan, where tariffs will reduce significantly.

Mr Key said consumers would not pay more for subsidised medicines as a result of TPP and the Pharmac model would not change.

TPPA to now go to Parliaments for Yes/No

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement has been reached and can’t be re-negotiated – it would be untenable if twelve countries could go on re-litigating clauses they weren’t happy with.

Radio NZ explains with Deal goes to parliaments:

US President Barack Obama released a statement saying Americans would have months to read the Trans-Pacific Partnership before he signs it into law.

In the United States, the deal will next go to the Congress for consideration, and in New Zealand and other countries, it will go before the Parliament.

The 12 countries’ legislatures will have no ability to re-negotiate the deal’s terms, however, and will be limited to yes-or-no votes on signing it into law.

NZ Herald: After the deal: 90 days for scrutiny:

Once the Trans Pacific Partnership talks conclude, New Zealand and the 11 other countries must tick several boxes before the agreement can be brought into force.

Under a rule set by the United States, any agreement cannot be signed until 90 days after negotiations end, to allow time for full consideration of its pros and cons.

The same rule also says the agreement’s full text must be made available to the public after 30 days.

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will provide a report to the Cabinet on the costs and benefits.

The Cabinet will then decide whether to approve the agreement.

Once the Cabinet approves the deal, the full text will be tabled in Parliament.

It will then be scrutinised by a parliamentary committee, which will hear submissions from the public.

New Zealand will likely have to change its laws to bring them into line with the agreement. This would probably be done through a single piece of legislation, and was likely to include changes to copyright, tariff and patent laws.

The bill would provide a chance for a parliamentary debate on the agreement, but only on the parts of the law which need to be changed.

This process could not alter the text of the agreement.

After the bill passes and any other policies or regulations have been brought into line with the agreement, the Government will ratify the deal.

Other countries will follow similar processes.

I don’t know what happens if any of the countries pulls the plug on the agreement.

TPPA deal done, details to come

An agreement has been reached by the twelve countries that have been negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership. Details will be advised later today but bits are already known.

NZ Herald: Trans Pacific Partnership a done deal

The 12 countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership initiated by New Zealand have struck a deal after five years of intense negotiation.

The deal was announced just after 2 am this morning NZ time after a marathon session in Atlanta where talks on dairy continued right up to the wire, Trade Minister Tim Groser told the Herald from Atlanta this morning.

Mr Groser is very upbeat about the overall result, which will be published later today, but less so on dairy.

“You’d have to day from a New Zealand point of view, it just reflects the view that finally, against the combined might of Canada, Japan and the United States they just couldn’t bring themselves to more fully liberalise their dairy sectors.”

Dairy was always going to be difficult but presumably things won’t be worse, just not a lot better than they are now. That’s a shame but it won’t be for lack of trying by the New Zealand negotiators.

But one surprising element that should please critics is that tobacco companies will be specifically banned from taking cases under the Investor State Disputes Procedures.

And the ISDS clauses apply only to investments in New Zealand.

Investor State Disputes Procedures were a major criticism of TPP opponents.

There will be no change on the current patents for biologic medicines, although an extension on copyright by 20 years will be phased in.

Mr Groser says Pharmac’s decision-making will become more transparent and the measures will cost $4.5 million in the first year then an added $2.2 million annually.

That seems a minor cost so a fairly significant achievement, as increasing medicine costs was a major concern.

While the dairy deal was less than hoped for, he believed that within a few years, once the deal had settled in, there might be a political climate to accelerate some tariff elimination.

But there were some gains. In the United States, for example, tariffs on infant formula tariff elimination within 10 years on infant formula and on some cheese.

Where New Zealand couldn’t get elimination of tariffs, it had got quota expansion deals, although some were very modest.

On beef exports, Japan agreed to a reduction from a 38 per cent tariff to 9 per cent. That applied to all countries although Australian beef farmer, through its own FTA with Japan, had a head start.

“Outside dairy, there is only one exception and only for one market and one tariff line where we cannot say that in the long run, no matter how long it takes, we have complete free trade for everything New Zealand exports, which is quite a big statement to be able to make.”

The PR campaign by the Government is apparently ready to go. And the criticisms that have been going on for years will certainly continue.

From the Office of the US Trade Representative:  Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Open Forum – Tuesday

6 October 2015

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is to encourage you to raise topics that interest you. 

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.

Your NZ is 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.
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  • 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.

Stuff confusion over TPPA announcement

A press conference on the TPPA in Atlanta was first scheduled for 9 am (New Zealand time). Then it was postponed until 11 am. Then it was postponed until later, or indefinitely, depending on who you read.

Stuff seem as confused as anyone. On Twitter:

NZStuffPolitics's avatar

TPPA breakthrough: Agreement expected in huge trade deal

But if you follow the link the headlined says:

Brakes go on TPPA as public announcement postponed indefinitely

An announcement on the biggest free trade deal in a generation has been postponed indefinitely but officials are hopeful they’ll get the deal across the line by the end of the day.

It sounds like they don’t know what’s happening.

They then quote a number of people with varying stories, including about Tim Groser.

It’s understood Trade Minister Tim Groser is making one last push in Atlanta to improve dairy market access for New Zealand as Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA) talks drag on.

There’s talk of an imminent decision…

Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal told media that he expected agreement to be reached by the end of the day but at the moment finding a compromise on biologics was proving difficult.

Financial Times world trade editor Shawn Donnan told Radio NZ that while negotiations were “coming right down to the wire”, he expected a deal would be signed soon.

but any announcement is postponed indefinitely.

A press conference was intially set down for 9am (NZT), which was extended by two hours and then pushed back to 3pm (NZT) before being postponed indefinitely.

It is currently 7 pm in Atlanta. By NZ 3 pm it will be 10 pm there.

Slater’s first book topic revealed

After putting out some teasers last week about his first book (with many more promised) Cameron Slater has revealed the title of his book which gives a bit of an idea about the subject matter.


Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 7.57.14 pm

This may or may not address issues around ‘Dirty Politics’.

And that may or may not annoy people who have already ordered copies of the book.

People who have followed Whale Oil over that past few years may guess about some of the possible content as unions and their finances have been covered.

UPDATE: Slater has added this in comments:

Nicky Hager told a story about me and framed me in a certain light. That was what he wanted. It became apparent to me in researching and preparing a counter book that I couldn’t do that without first exploring what it is that drives me, how I came to be who I am and so I have and am preparing numerous books that explore those themes.

This is the first one and starts where I started…my first experiences working under unions…and how I came to distrust and dislike unions and why. This is the first time unions have had the microscope put on them…what we have found is interesting.

So Slater has linked this to his promised Dirty Politics counter revelations by saying it explores what drives him and he is “preparing numerous books that explore those themes”. It could take quite a while and quite a few books to get to the actual Dirty Politics counter story then.

I presume this isn’t aimed at being a money making venture with more instalments than Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, the box office appeal is substantially lower than  for a fantasy fight fest series.

ANOTHER THOUGHT: Commonly quote in politics – under promise and over deliver. Slater has been promising a counter to Dirty Politics for a year or more, and his first book at least seems like a major under delivery.


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