Black Caps versus Baggy Greens

Today is one of the most anticipated games of cricket for some time, between New Zealand’s Black Caps and Australia’s Baggy Greens.

It’s not actually a critical game in the World Cup. Both teams are likely to have no problems getting through to the quarter finals – although if Australia lose today and also lose to Sri Lanka they might get a tougher opponent in the quarter finals.

Barring rain out’s in New Zealand’s remaining days they should finish first or second on their side of the draw, depending on today’s result.

There’s more interest than usual because while Australia are in dominating form New Zealand are looking stronger than they have for a long time.

On a neutral ground Australia would be clear favourites still but at Eden Park it evens the odds somewhat.

I’m looking forward to the game but have mixed feelings.

I have some confidence that the Black Caps will at least acquit themselves very well and stand a realsitic chance of winning.

But having been a follower of them for many years there remains a degree of trepidation that we could get clobbered by our trans-Tasman cobbers, something like South Africa demolished West Indies yesterday (if you haven’t heard the result de Villiers got 162 not out, West Indies got 151 all out).

So I’m looking forward to the game and have hopes it will be a very good Black Cap effort but athere’s a niggling worry.

Currently the forecast is “Sunny with afternoon sea breezes” so the Baggy Greens shouldn’t be handicapped a second time by being rained out.

Marijuana now legal in Washington DC

The spreading legalisation of marijuana in the US continues with Washington DC now included.

Stuff reports Marijuana legalised in Washington DC.

Marijuana is now effectively legal in the nation’s capital even though Congress tried to stop it.

District of Columbia residents who are at least 21 years old are free to grow as many as six plants and possess as much as 2 ounces, as a measure approved by voters in November took effect on Thursday. It’s still illegal to sell the drug or smoke it in public.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, allowed legalisation to begin over the opposition of federal lawmakers, who have constitutional sway over the city.

In December, Congress attached a provision to the US budget that blocked the city from spending money to implement the measure. District officials said it doesn’t apply because the initiative was enacted before the budget. The police chief and head prosecutor agree.

“The residents of the District of Columbia spoke loud and clear,” Bowser told reporters on Wednesday. “We believe that we’re acting lawfully.”

Approved by voters, enabled by local government despite opposition at Federal level.

There’s no such options in New Zealand where addressing cannabis is stifled by the National led Government.

The decision thrust the city into the expanding nationwide push against marijuana prohibition. Alaska on Tuesday became the third state to legalise marijuana after Colorado and Washington. Oregon is to follow in July, when a ballot measure takes effect.

New Zealand looks like being a very slow follower of a world wide trend to allow some legal use of cannabis. New Zealand is already one of the highest per capita users via illegal growing and selling.

Labour up, National down in Roy Morgan poll

The latest Roy Morgan poll:

  • National 49% (down 3%)
  • Maori Party 1.0% (down 0.5%)
  • Act NZ 0% (down 1%)
  • United Future 0% (unchanged)
  • Labour Party 30% (up 4% - their highest level of support since July 2014)
  • Greens 12% (up 1%)
  • NZ First 6% (unchanged)
  • Conservative Party1.5% (down 0.5%)
  • Internet-Mana Party 0% (unchanged)
  • Independent/ Others 0.5% (unchanged).

This poll was held on February 2-15 (the previous one was (January 5-18, 2015) – most of the polling will have been done during John Key’s awful week last week and before Andrew Little’s awful week this week.

Labour will be hoping this recovery trend continues. If they’re lucky their hiccups this week will be forgotten by the next polling period.


And Government confidence is down.

Coinciding with the decrease in support for the Government the latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has fallen significantly to 124pts (down 20pts). This is the lowest the NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has been since October 2013.

Coinciding with the decrease in support for the Government the latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has fallen significantly to 124pts (down 20pts). This is the lowest the NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has been since October 2013.

Roy Morgan includes good ‘margin of error’ information:

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. The following table gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. The figures are approximate and for general guidance only, and assume a simple random sample. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40%-60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
500 ±4.5 ±3.9 ±2.7 ±1.9
1,000 ±3.2 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.4
1,500 ±2.6 ±2.2 ±1.5 ±1.1
2,000 ±2.2 ±1.9 ±1.3 ±1.0

The Roy Morgan sample size this poll was 891.

On the top of the world

New Zealand is usually tucked away at the bottom of a glob or at the edge of the map, unless we are left off altogether,

But this time lapse sequence taken from the International Space Stationshows New Zealand at the top of the world – with the South Island coming first (ok, second after Stewart Island) and some cloud shrouding up north somewhere.

ISS Timelapse – From New Zealand to sunset (24 Gennaio 2015)

(The link is good but the embed code doesn’t link correctly)





“Some other country…”

I overheard a ten year old grandson being asked what he knew about Waitangi Day.

“It’s about the Maori and some other country…” was all he could remember. He was told what the other country was.

So I asked him where England was on the globe.

“It’s around the top I think” he said, spinning and searching. He gave up.

I showed him where England was, and to be fair it was not prominent below UNITED KINGDOM and Leeds, so I explained how that worked along with Scotland, Wales and a bit of Ireland. But he wasn’t very interested,

Also he didn’t know who John Key was. He seemed a bit more interested in an explanation of how our democracy and Parliament worked.

To a southern kid New Zealand is New Zealand with a few Maori mostly in other places.

ISIS – doing something versus doing nothing

John Key is promoting the chances New Zealand contribues to Iraqi efforts to defeat the spread of the Islamic State – Prime Minister: Let’s help Iraq.

In an unscripted speech on a marae today Prime Minister John Key told Maori leaders that New Zealand are not going to turn the other cheek to the horrors being seen in the Middle East.

Diplomacy was what was needed but New Zealand also needed to support other people around the world.

“The day before yesterday a Jordanian pilot was burned to death with petrol and yesterday some gay people were thrown off a building because ISIS don’t like their sexuality,” he said.

“A few weeks ago 10-year-old kids were rolled out to behead soldiers who were part of the Iraqi forces.“

New Zealand could get involved in trying to limit the spred and influence of ISIS and that would almost certainly increase the risk of New Zealand or New Zealanders being targetted by terrorists.

Or we could do nothing and oppose any other countries interfering. That could work out ok.

Or it could allow a terrorist group to become more terrible. Potentially sunstantially more terrible.

Generally I’m against war and I’m against violence – but sometimes it’s necessary to oppose violence with violence to limit it. That’s an unfortunate reality of how our world works in practice.

Sometimes resorting to Godwin is necessary to make a point. Rod Emmerson:

ISIS is very different in how it ooperates to Nazi Germany, but unchecked they could end up being as dangerous.

Doing nothing seems to be a worse risk than trying to do something.

UPDATES:(thanks Allytoo and Alan))

Kiwiblog: How widespread is extreme Islam?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
― Edmund Burke

Eleanor Catton’s perspective

Author Eleanour Catton has sparked social media discussions through her anti-Government comments in an interview while in India.

Live Mint: Eleanor Catton: In the last year, I’ve struggled with my identity as a New Zealand writer

Her controversial comment:

At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, (I dominated by) these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.

Catton actively supported voting for the Greens in last year’s election. These sorts of ideas are not uncommon on the extreme Green side of politics.

This nis the whole section of the interview that led up to those comments:

On New Zealand discrediting its writers

New Zealand has the misfortune in not having a lot of confidence in the brains of its citizens. There is a lot of embarassment, a lot of discrediting that goes on in terms of the local writers.

I, for example, grew up just having a strange belief that New Zealand writers were automatically less great than writers from Britain and America, for example. Because we were some colonial backwater, we weren’t discovered, which I’m hoping will change.

The matter of having this kind of cultural embarrassment about your place in the world, we really need to actively resist that and be brave. I don’t think good literature can come about without bravery. The last thing you want is a whole country of embarrassed writers slinking around.

The good side of New Zealand is that there isn’t all that kind of shallow literary fame where everyone’s backstabbing each other. You kind of need a snobbery for those kinds of things to happen. But I think it is always a shame when people don’t stand up for what it is that they really believe.

And I do think the problem we face in New Zealand is that we are reluctant to express firm beliefs in anything.

An example would be, I was teaching in class in Auckland. I made up a statement with manifestoes from all over the world, different writers who all thought what writing should do or not do. I was going to give it out to my students and have them write about the one that spoke to them the most.

When I was putting this document together, I thought, hang on, I don’t have any New Zealand writers here. And I spent an entire day on the internet trying to find an aesthetic statement from a New Zealand writer and there was nothing. Hopefully in the future, we have more people being brave in that way.

We have this strange cultural phenomenon called “tall poppy syndrome”; if you stand out, you will be cut down.

One example is that the New Zealand Book Award that follows the announcement of the Man Booker Prize, in the year The Luminaries won it, there was this kind of thing that now you’ve won this prize from overseas, we’re not going to celebrate it here, we’re going to give the award to somebody else. If you get success overseas then very often the local population can suddenly be very hard on you.

Or the other problem is that the local population can take ownership of that success in a way that is strangely proprietal. So many people have talked in the media and me directly in ways of 2013 being the year that New Zealand won the Man Booker Prize. It betrays an attitude towards individual achievement which is very, uncomfortable. It has to belong to everybody or the country really doesn’t want to know about it.

I know I shouldn’t complain too much—I’m in such an extraordinary position—but at the same time I feel that in the last year I’ve really struggled with my identity as a New Zealand writer. I feel uncomfortable being an ambassador for my country when my country is not doing as much as it could, especially for the intellectual world. It’s sort of a complicated position to be in.

At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, (I dominated by) these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.

Some curious comment followed:

On writing from someone else’s perspective

I don’t feel like the male perspective is alien to me. I understand what it would be like to be a man. I suppose from reading a lot of books from male points of view, I don’t feel like it’s completely foreign to me.

An odd claim.I don’t understand what it would be like to be many other men.

There is not ‘a male perspective’. There are a wide range of male perspectives. I’m certain that my perpsective is quite different to many other males – I know that the perspective of some other males is completely foreign to me.

It’s much more dangerous when a white writer writes from a non-white perspective than when people write across gender. That’s much more tricky territory, much more to do with the intentions of the person doing it.

If your intention is to be curious, to enlarge your sense of the world, that’s a wonderful thing. But if your intention is to pillage somebody else’s point of view in order to claim some sort of status from that, is very bad, very immoral.

I would never write a first person narrative from the point of view of somebody who had an experience that I had not been through.

Obviously she’s able to express her own views however she sees fit, but it’s just her perspective. Her controversial comments were written from a fairly extreme political perspective.

Her Green perspective is a minority perspective, about 11% of people currently vote Green in New Zealand.

From a poll in July last year “Greens are supported by 13.1 per cent of women compared with 6.6 per cent of men” so her green perspective doesn’t seem to be so popular amongst males.

Obviously she’s able to express her own views however she sees fit, but it’s just her political perspective, albeit shared by some other New Zealanders.

Aotearoa New Zealand?

There seems to be increasing use of the term ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’. I don’t have any issue with the concept of the term in general, but it seems to be creeping into official use. I’m not aware of any official designation of it, so it appears that some are trying to arbitrarily impose it without due process.

This was highlighted in a column by Fran O’Sullivan where she quoted the Race Relations Commissioner using it:

“I am Aotearoa New Zealand … te rangi tahu, together we grow” is in fact the slogan Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy chose as the theme for this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

I thought race relations would not try to impose an unofficial term and use due process to reach agreement on any change.

The Human Rights Commission website doesn’t use the term…

About This Site

This website is owned by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. The aim of this website is to promote and educate the New Zealand public on human rights in an accessible and user-friendly format.

…including on it’s Race Relations page but in a link there:

Race Relations Day 2014

Race Relations Day, 21 March,  marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated around the world. The 2014 theme is “I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.”

Dame Susan is Aotearoa New Zealand from NZ Human Rights on Vimeo.

Belonging and feeling connected is essential for a healthy society. This year’s theme explores the balance between having our own individual identities and the potential of a diverse and united collective.    It expresses that everyone here, no matter what their race or cultural background, belongs, and that there are many ways of being a New Zealander. If we understand and appreciate our differences we can grow together into an Aotearoa/New Zealand that is based on dignity and respect.

Complete the sentence “I am Aotearoa New Zealand because…” and share the different ways we can be New Zealanders.

It seems odd for the Race Relations Commissioner to arbitrarily use the term like this. She is likely to divide more than promote togetherness.

If it hasn’t been properly designated then ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’ looks like a slogan being imposed.

Aotearoa is generally stated as the Māori name for New Zealand although there seems to be doubt about it’s origin. It may have at one time just referred to the North Island.

The Constitution Act 1986 makes no mention of ‘Aotearoa’.

Greens use the term in their full name – The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand – and Green MPs frequently use the term (although abbreviate as per

A search of National’s website finds no official use of the term (or ‘Aotearoa’), there are only references to organisations who use ‘Aotearoa’ in their name.

Labour don’t prominently promote the term but use it in their Māori Development policy:

Labour acknowledges Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa/New Zealand and accepts that Te Tiriti should be honoured in government, society and the family.

Māori hold a particular status as the indigenous people, tangata whenua of Aotearoa/New Zealand. That status is acknowledged by the United Nations and Labour supports formal recognition of this status.

But their use seems limited, as in their other Māori policy Te Reo Māori they use ‘New Zealand’ alone in English language paragraphs and ‘Aotearoa’ alone in Māori paragraphs.

A search of Labour’s website suggests sparse use:

Maiden speech – Jenny Salesa – New Zealand Labour Party

Oct 24, 2014  My family moved to Aotearoa New Zealand

Labour will facilitate regional Māori economic development agencies

Aug 17, 2014  … will take up the challenge to equip rangatahi with the skills they need to build a 
quality life in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Nanaia Mahuta

Oddly the search summary of this quotes “this country AOTEAROA“…

Merry Christmas – New Zealand Labour Party

Dec 22, 2014  … a very industrious, hard-working family, and we need a government who is 
going to ensure that the ‘real workers’ of this country AOTEAROA, …

…but this links to a video message from Labour leader Andreww Little who doesn’t mention any version of a country name at all.

Something as fundamental to New Zealand as the country name (and flag and anthem) should be dealt with due process, and any change should involve proper consultation and official designation.

Aotearoa (from Wikipedia):

Aotearoa (Māori: [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa], originally used in reference to the North Island of New Zealand, is now the most widely known and accepted Māori name for the entire country.

Translation: The original derivation of Aotearoa is not known for certain. The common translation is “the land of the long white cloud”.


When Māori began incorporating the name Aotearoa into their lore is unknown.

After the adoption of the name New Zealand by Europeans, one name used by Māori to denote the country as a whole was Niu Tireni, a transliteration of New Zealand.

From 1845, George Grey, Governor of New Zealand, spent some years amassing information from Māori regarding their legends and histories. He translated it into English, and in 1855 published a book called Polynesian Mythology And Ancient Traditional History Of The New Zealand Race.

Thus died this Maui we have spoken of; but before he died he had children, and sons were born to him; some of his descendants yet live in Hawaiki, some in Aotearoa (or in these islands); the greater part of his descendants remained in Hawaiki, but a few of them came here to Aotearoa.

In the 19th century, Aotearoa was sometimes used to refer to the North Island only.

An example of that usage appeared in the first issue of Huia Tangata Kotahi, a Māori language newspaper published on 8 February 1893. It contained the dedication on the front page, “He perehi tenei mo nga iwi Maori, katoa, o Aotearoa, mete Waipounamu”, meaning “This is a publication for the Māori tribes of Aotearoa and the South Island.

Regardless of it’s origin and historic usage Aotearoa is accepted as a Māori description applying to the whole of New Zealand now – but ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’ seems to have no official designation.

Muslim condemnation of Charlie Hebdo killings

Muslims are often criticised for failing to condemn Islam related terrorism and this has happened over the Charlie Hebdo killings. It’s usually based on ignorance, I would guess that critics don’t even bother checking before making accusations of inaction.

It’s actually common for countries to condemn acts of terrorism. Including Muslim countries.

Charlie Hebdo killings condemned by Arab states – but hailed online by extremists

Arab governments and Muslim leaders and organisations across the world have condemned the deadly attack in Paris.

Saudi Arabia called it a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”. The Arab League and Egypt’s al-Azhar university – the leading theological institution in the Sunni Muslim world – also denounced the incident in which masked gunmen shouted “Allahu Akbar” – “god is great ” in Arabic.

Iran, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria and Qatar all issued similar statements.

In New Zealand the Federation of Islamic Associations Condemns Paris Attack:


And on Twitter: Muslims In New Zealand (12,786 likes):

How A muslim should respond to the haters —

1. Sabr (Patience )
2. Silence 
3. Smile 

Dear Brothers and Sisters — while going to work, masjid, mall or for a walk or anywhere if someone offends you or your family in anyways, please do not take the matter in your hand & respond, instead please call the police. New Zealand police are closely working with us and is giving us full support.

May ALLAH swt make it easy for all of us.


Innocent until proven a risk should be an inalienable Kiwi principle

It was inevitable that the French killers have been killed. They lived by the gun, died by the gun. A fair enough outcome.

Sad that more innocent people have been killed.

What does this mean for New Zealand? There’s far less risk of anything like this happening here but it’s not zero risk. There should be and will be much discussion about surveillance for protection versus intrusion on privacy.

There will also be ongoing discussion on immigration. There will also be ongoing discussion on immigration. There have been a number of calls to stop immigration of other cultures and religions, and some have even suggested deportation of all Muslims.

It’s worth noting that the Kouachi brothers were born in France.

So should anyone whose parents weren’t born in New Zealand be kicked out of the country just in case there’s a nutter amongst them?

100% protection against terrorism is impossible.

Terrorists want to create mayhem and provoke division. The best way to combat that is to remain calm and cautious, and to not change how we do things in New Zealand as a knee jerk reaction to events in France.

Reacting to the hate and intolerance of terrorists with hate and intolerance allows them to destroy our special way of life.

We need to hold New Zealand values as very precious – our tolerance of different cultures and religions with a relative absence of persecution based on differences.

Innocent until proven a risk should be an unalienable Kiwi principle.


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