DPF’s Himalayan adventure

David Farrar runs one of the most widely read and respected (and hated) political forums – Kiwiblog. He doesn’t stick to politics, he often posts about what he does, he reviews arts and he reports on his frequent travels. He gets some friendly criticism for this but they can be a good diversion from hard core politics.

He is currently trekking in the Himalayas and has posted a series of accounts with numerous photos. It’s a very interesting look at something very different to New Zealand politics.

A lot of the trekking is at 4,000-5,000 meters, with a peak of 5360 metres going over the Chola Pass. Mt Aoraki/Cook is 3,724 metres.

DPF described this as “Just to prove I was here” but he’s been known to use Photoshop.

The region of the trek (from Google Maps)


The trek went was past the Gyoko lakes that can be seen just above and below the text “Sagarmatha National Park” beside the glacier.

On the eleventh day…

A view of Everest.

Fast lane for caravan holidays

Labour have announced transport policy that would ban trucks from using the fast lane of motorways.


Heavy trucks have a speed limit of 90 km/h. If they drive in the fast lane on multi-lane roads, they either slow down light vehicle traffic or, frequently, exceed their speed limit. This is both inconvenient for other road users and dangerous.


 Eliminate an unnecessary hassle by removing the annual registration charge for light trailers and caravans.


Cars and caravans can go on holiday unimpeded by trucks in the fast lane – except that towing vehicles also have a speed limit of  90 km/h.

They might be reasonable wee tweaks but it’s not going to set the holidays on fire.

The difference a macron makes in Māori

in Māori macrons can make a significant difference to what words mean and how they are pronounced.

Pronouncing vowels:

Māori has five vowel sounds but, like other Polynesian languages, each is either short or long. Short vowels are always written with ‘plain’ vowel letters.

Long vowels are almost always written with a macron over the vowel in this dictionary. The distinction between short and long vowels usually carries meaning, e.g. kēkē (armpit), kekē (to creak), keke (loan) (cake).

As shown there macrons can signify different meanings.


1. (verb) to quack (as a duck).
Kēkē kau ana te pārera (W 1971:112). / The duck quacks.

2. (noun) armpit.
Ka kowhera te uira i roto i ngā kēkē o Tāwhaki (NM 1928:45). / The lightening burst forth from inside the armpits of Tāwhaki.

3. (noun) area under the wing of a bird at the place where the wing is attached to the body.
Ko te pōhoi taringa nō te huruhuru maheni o te kēkē o te toroa (TTT 1/9/1924:s4). / The feather ornament for the ear is of smooth feathers from under the wing of the albatross.


1. (verb) to creak.


1. (loan) (noun) cake.
Ko tētehi o aua keke i waiho hei tukutuku ki ngā whanaunga, i ia wāhi, i ia wāhi o Aotearoa, o Te Waipounamu (TW 21/2/1876:72). / One of those cakes was left to be sent to relatives in each part of the North and South Islands.

(hat tip marty mars)


How to type macrons

1. Copy words with macrons and paste to where you want to use them.

2. Character maps:

Find  by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking System Tools, and then clicking Character Map. If you use this method often you might want to right click this option and pin it to your start menu or taskbar.

3. Add the Māori keyboard to your computer so you can type cahracters with macrons:

Māori Keyboard Windows 8 Installation

How do I add macrons for the Māori language in my documents? - Windows 7, Windows 8

Keyboard setup for macrons - Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Winsows 7
Typing Māori easily / Te māmā hoki o te patopato:

Useful links:

Download Māori Dictionary apps:

Mana conference and Dotcom

The Mana Party Conference is under way in Rotorua with guest Kim Dotcom attracting a lot of attention.

Prior to the conference Hone Harawira was asked abolut it on The Nation:

Lisa Owen: How much is riding on this weekend for you and the discussion about a merger with the Internet Party?

Hone Harawira: We come to this AGM, and two months before we’d had our Mana Exec where we gave clear focus to our electorate campaigns and to a strong party vote campaign -that’s underpinning everything we do. If we work with the Internet Party, that will be another relationship. If we work with the Greens, that will be another relationship. If we work with Labour, that will be another relationship, but nothing changes the momentum of Mana to focus on its electorate seats – Maori electorate seats in particular – and the party vote campaign.

Dotcom meets the Harawira, senior.

And Harawira, alliance partner.

With Hone at the MANA meeting. Wonderful day for an alliance with the

The Standard posts: From slum-house to mega-man: Mana-TIP connections

Martyn Bradbury reports: MANA AGM Update

It will be an AGM in excess of 300 as MANA members coverage upon the Rotorua Marae to hear what possible Alliance between The Internet Party and MANA could occur and how it would happen. Debate will be fierce, but my reading of the mood on the Marae and members in general are excited about a possible alliance and are interested.

The Socialists aren’t happy, but when was the last time in history they were happy right?

And: MANA AGM – When Hone met Kim UPDATE – Hone speaks:

“When Kim says he is against the TPPA, I listen”.

“When Kim says he is against the GCSB, I listen”.

“When Kim says he wants this Government out, I ask, ‘why isn’t he a member of MANA’”?

“I would be a wretched leader if I didn’t at least bring this to the table.”

Much applause.

And Dotcom speaks (“These aren’t verbatim”):

“Would you support action against deep sea oil drilling, tracking, forced evictions even if you weren’t in an alliance with MANA?”
-Yes I support things that make social sense. Fracking and deep sea oil drilling make no sense.

“What are your thoughts on MANAs tax policy?”
-I agree with a luxury tax. Details need to be worked out, but we need more money for social equity and that has to come from somewhere.

“What would you do to make MANA better?”
-Technology, I would bring technology to an Alliance.

“Would you support with every MANA policy?”
-Well I think I would bring different knowledge and maybe make the ideas better.

“If John Key offered to let you stay in NZ, would you cut a deal with him?”
-let me tell you something no one knows. I was only given residency in this country for the purpose to extradite me, that is political interference in its purest form. When Russel Norman said he would look at my extradition, I felt uncomfortable with that because I want to trust in the justice system. I don’t want to cut any deals.

“What do you think of the media bias?”
-Watching the media, they told me that MANA was a pack of extremists, that you want to burn down rich peoples homes. The truth is far from that.

“Why did you walk away from National”
-I have always stood by the thinking that you always talk to everyone, even your enemies. But when National started smearing me with Nazi smears, that disgusted me.

It sounds like Harawira and quite a few Mana members are keen on an alliance with Dotcom.

Where’s the Internet Party? They said they wanted to separate themselves from Dotcom. This seems to be a Harawira and Dotcom show.


On Tau Henare’s retirement announcement

National list MP Tau Henare confirmed he was retiring from Parliament at the end of this term.  This was an expected announcement. He did this via Twitter.

Well, I’m on my way to caucus to inform my colleagues of the that I intend to retire at the upcoming General Election.

It’s been a pleasure and a privelige and a very humbling experience. Thanks heaps folks.

Best friends and comrades have been wife and kids.

There’s been a few reactions from MPs.

Strangely sad to wake to the news that is retiring. One of Parliament’s true free thinkers and a great champion of LGBT rights.

Still at least you’ll be free now to speak your mind on twitter

Gonna miss you.

You too sis. Good luck.


Best of luck with everything .. Your a good bloke and I’ve quite enjoyed the yarns we’ve had over the years .

Tau, we’ll miss your wicked sense of humour and your huge support of us & our causes. Best of luck for the future :) 

the very best of luck on the next adventure. On a personal note, holy heck I’m looking forward to seeing what you tweet now haha

But more seriously, with Tau retiring w’ll have lost something important — an MP who’s willing to speak his mind. Kia ora 

Sorry to hear that Tau, you were always my favourite in National’s ranks. Congrats on your legacy, & best of luck for the future!

And Ruminator brings up a guest post written by Henare last year:

Tau Henare: Culture – all the good stuff

National Party MP Tau Henare writes on what he feels Maori Culture is, and how it can help society as a whole.

With all the talk of recession and how to get out of it, I remember only too well the last one. The 80s downturn for us in Otara was like a bald-faced gate crasher who arrived early, wrecked the place and wouldn’t leave.  Sixth form certificate wasn’t enough to get me a job. 30 years of service on the railways wasn’t enough to protect my father from redundancy. Yet as bad as things may have appeared to others, it was still one of the most upbeat times of my youth. I owe this to the rise of Maori culture. A culture largely forgotten by many of my father’s generation as they settled into the gentle pace of urban life. But its timely revival in rough times had given my own generation enthusiasm mixed with hope.

He concludes:

As someone that has traversed the full spectrum of political thought, and indeed started a party based on this very concept of culture, I have come to the conclusion that it has no natural political home but that culture should be woven into the fabric of all ideologies, because its true worth, particularly in times of crisis and uncertainty, is that it encourages the energy, enterprise and intellect in people to aspire to a greater cause or as my old uncle would say “all the good stuff”.

Tau Henare: “the PM’s got a team to run, if I don’t like it I can leave.” Says he likes everyone in Parl and won’t go kicking & screaming.

Tau also rules out returning to Parliament with another party.

Audrey Young: Memories of Henare

Severely flawed royal tour poll

Self selecting online polls are unreliable indicators of public opinion no matter how well they are done, but a Dominion Post poll on the royal tour leaves a glaring gap in it’s options.

             Are you hoping to see the royals? 

o  I’m lining up to see them every chance I get!

o  I’d be happy to get just a glimpse of them.

o  It would be nice to see them, but it’s OK if I don’t.

o  No! I’m a republican and don’t care for royalty.     

The poll is attached to an editorial praising the royals and the tour - Editorial: Give royals a jolly good time – so people interested in the tour are far more likely to click on the editorial link and see the poll than those who don’t care.

The questions are unbalanced, with three options for people who might like to see the royals and only one for those who don’t want to see them.

Worse, the “don’t care” option is tied to being a republican. It’s quite likely there are far more people who don’t consider themselves republicans and don’t care than republicans who don’t care.

This poll is severely stacked against showing a representative sample of opinion.

UPDATE: I linked this to Twitter and got a response from someone from the Dom-Post:

Hi Pete – we hear you. We will amend the poll to make the ‘not interested’ option unlinked to republicans. Thanks

That’s a bit better but changing a poll question part way through the polling is not going to help accuracy, although it’s been changed early in the polling period.

And it doesn’t address the other flaws. Self selecting polls associated with news or opinion articles are for entertainment, they can’t be considered representations of public opinion.

New question in poll:

Are you hoping to see the royals?

 o  I’m lining up to see them every chance I get!

 o  I’d be happy to get just a glimpse of them.

 o  It would be nice to see them, but it’s OK if I don’t.

 o  I don’t care for royalty.


Will the royal tour influence the election?

I don’t see why it would, but some see it as yet another thing stacked against their election chances. Some typical comments on this at The Standard:


The only comment I would like to make about the visit by the Windsors is this. I understood a constitutional monarch was not allowed to get involved in politics. Black Rod and all that medieval crap. Why is it then they are opening the controversial Velodrome in Cambridge hosted by Wardell (he will get a knighthood for playing at life) where 80% of the ratepayers were against having rate payers money used to fund it, but the regional council aided and abetted by Keys pack of shits ignored what the ratepayers said and went ahead with it.

I think this sets a precedent, the Royals are being used politically by Key during an election year.


We knew that from the day it was announced they were coming.

But there were challenges to these views:


How are they being used politically? There are no conventions in New Zealand about royal visits in election year. Visits in 1981 and 2002 were both within 6 months of the elections in those years.

In 2002, the Queen visited Team New Zealand. Many on the Left and the Right had opposed funding for the Americas Cup. Was that the “royals being used politically” by the then Labour Government? No, of course not.


Labour has never been averse to the royal effect. Although Clark did break protocol and wear slacks to a dinner with the queen…

Felix Marwick, Chief Political Reporter at Newstalk ZB, sums up my views well in The Soap Box: Royal tour a complete waste… 

 A colossal waste of time, energy, and money. 

I’m sorry, as a Republican, I just can’t develop any enthusiasm or regard for the Royal Visit that kicks off in Wellington today and will run until the middle next week. 

Their Royal Highnesses, better known to the tabloid savvy as Wills and Kate along with their son Prince George, will be dominating the news agenda for the next 10 days as their rather mundane trip around the country will be breathlessly reported on 24 seven. 

Forgive me if I’m not terribly enthusiastic about any of this. 

I’ve never been enthusiastic about about royal visits. I doubt I would have been regardless but my view wasn’t helped by a Queen Mother visit while I was at school. I was part of a small town turnout (Cromwell) where we lined the main street with planned meet, greet and speeches.

But the motorcade was running a couple of hours late and didn’t have time to stop. I can’t even remember if we waited long enough for the cars to whiz by, I don’t remember actually seeing anything so I may have had to go to catch the school bus home.

And when we went to the ‘pictures’ we were supposed to stand for “God Save the Queen” at the start – not being in to gods or queens I always thought that was weird. As I got older it became a chance to defy authority (custom) by remaining seated.

But the thought of having to follow the scions of aristocratic privilege around the country as they partake in such earth shattering events as riding in jet boats, visiting a police college, and yachting on Auckland harbour, bores me to tears. 

The only reason any of this has any consequence whatsoever is because of who they are. Descendants of a royal lineage whose relevance to New Zealand lessens with every passing year. 

What do we really get out of this trip other than a hefty expenses bill that’ll no doubt run into the millions of dollars? 

Not a lot. Rich people look at stuff. And by the way they have a baby. There’s your headline. 

Look, I’m sure the royal couple are lovely people. And I have a certain sympathy for their life in a gilded cage, always under the microscope, and never being able to say anything controversial. Thought the trappings of wealth and aristocracy probably aren’t a bad compensation. 

But what, in the quantum of human affairs do they contribute to New Zealand other than represent a vestigial tie to our colonial past. Bar symbolism this visit is an expensive waste of time, has limited news value, and does little, if anything, for the country. 

My ancestors, and I know I’m not alone in this, came to New Zealand to get away from Britain’s oppressive class system. To escape the poverty trap that constrained those who were not of the right social class. So why are we celebrating and endorsing the royals when they represent the very system our great great grand parents escaped from? 

I’ve got nothing personal against the royals but they’re an expensive irrelevance and we really should be looking forwards, not backwards. 

If they want to visit, that’s fine. But let them carry the tab. I’m almost positive they can afford it.   

I know it’s not a waste of time for a sizable number of people who enjoy celebrity visits. But I don’t care about it, apart from the saturation of media coverage I’ll have to try and avoid.

Back to the original question – I see no reason whatsoever how this tour will influence the election that’s four and a half months away, except that it might give us a short reprieve from politicians electioneering, they may want to avoid making fools of themselves in the international media spotlight.

Warning to all

Warning to all

This guy’s hell must be very crowded (I presume it’s a guy).

Source: Kissing Fish’s Photos

Political doom merchants be damned, socially we’re tops

Those who think New Zealand is going to hell in a handbasket should instead be proud of our greatness.

NZ Ranked World’s Most Socially Advanced Country

New Zealand topped the rankings across a wide range of measures–according to the Social Progress Index 2014 which ranks 132 countries based on their social and environmental performance. The result was described as “exceptional” by Michael Green, Executive Directive of the Social Progress Imperative.

Key New Zealand findings:

Of the 54 indicators measured within each country to make up the overall Index ranking, New Zealand scores top spot in no less than 20, across a wide variety of different measures. These include tying in first place globally on measures of homicide (less than 2 per 100,000 people); levels of corruption and religious tolerance.


H New Zealand scores strongly on the ‘Access to Basic Knowledge’ component finishing 2nd globally. Included in this is secondary school enrollment on which New Zealand scores top.

H New Zealand also finishes top ranked on ‘Personal Freedom and Choice’, owing to impressive results on religious freedoms and freedom over life choices.

H On ‘Tolerance and Inclusion’ New Zealand scores fourth globally, thanks partly to its high tolerance for immigrants and religious tolerance.

H On the ‘Access to Information and Communications’ measure New Zealand scores 7th globally, which is a relatively strong result compared to countries of a similar GDP. The result owes partly to an exceptionally high rate of mobile telephone subscriptions (more than 110 for every 100 people) as well as ranking number one globally for press freedoms.

Other findings

According to the researchers New Zealand doesn’t have any specific weaknesses.


Maybe they didn’t look very closely in some of the political, and everything is relative, but this is a good pat on the back for the quality of life in New Zealand.

Kumar to replace Dotcom

Yesterday the Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar said that the party was going to distance itself from it’s founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom dominated the party launched and the media interviews.

Also yesterday TV3 tweeted:

Looking forward to appearing live on on Saturday – what difference will make to

This morning Kumar was again reported saying the party would distance itself from Dotcom.

This aftrenoon the Internet Party tweeted:

UPDATE: will instead be appearing on from their Auckland studio tomorrow.

Perhaps the separation is beginning, and the Internet Party is trying to appear as more than a Dotcom vanity project or legal escape route.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 184 other followers