World view – Tuesday

Monday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

Andrew Little on Pike River

People can’t afford Christmas

Modern Christmas, dominated by commercialism and relentless pressure on ever widening present lists, is a financial challenge for most people.

Newstalk ZB:  Survey shows one in five Kiwis can’t afford Christmas

A new survey has shed light on the struggles Kiwi families face during Christmas.

The Salvation Army survey shows one in five Kiwis say they can’t afford to celebrate Christmas, with almost half saying Christmas is a time of financial struggle.

Head of Welfare Services Major Pam Waugh told Kate Hawkesby these numbers don’t come as a surprise, given the rising living costs.

“When you look at what’s going on in our communities and you listen to families, this us quite indicative of what we see coming through our door but also of families struggling to keep their head above water.”

Ever year the number of families needing help increases, however Waugh says they are hoping the Government’s Families Package will start to help.

“This year we are hoping to stabilise it. We think the Families Package has made a dent…but a lot of the families we work with are struggle with debt that has built up over years of not being able to afford their basic living cost.”

“We have encouraged people to look at that debt and get it paid down so in another year or so we will see the full impact of those packages.”

She said Christmas puts added stress on families who are already struggling to cope.

“Christmas impacts on all of us. We are in a consumer-driven society. Children are watching TV and see what they want. They have the same wishes and wants as all children and that impacts on our families who really struggle to provide that.”

While not being able to afford Christmas depends on what your budget is, generally and for the Christmas period, it has become a financial disaster zone for many people.

I remember some very sparse Christmases when I was a child, especially in years where fruit was hit badly by frost. Things are easier these days by a long way for me.

But it’s very easier to get drawn into more presents for more more people, and far more food than anyone needs. And this can set the finances back far more than is necessary.

I’m looking forward to a great Christmas this year – it will be the first one shared with three grandchildren who are coming to stay for three weeks. The present challenge is amplified because they all have birthdays in the week or so before they arrive. But just sharing the occasion with them will mean more than anything that money can buy.

Bland communique out of APEC

From Gezza:

Aljazeera tv had a main news item this morning making a big thing out of the failure of APEC leaders to be able to issue the usual agreed “bland communique”, and the very obvious “spat” – the “war of words” that had been waged there between Xi and Pence:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Asia-Pacific leaders have failed to bridge divisions over trade at a summit dominated by a war of words between the United States and China. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea ended on Sunday without a formal statement for the first time in its history.

“You know the two big giants in the room. What can I say?” said host and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, adding that a chairman’s statement would be released later on Sunday.

The US and China presented contrasting visions for the future of trade and investment in the region in competing policy speeches on Saturday. Washington and Beijing have been engaged in an escalating trade war this year, imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods, and have said that the tariffs could be increased.

O’Neill said that the main sticking points that prevented a joint statement related to “the World Trade Organisation and reform of the World Trade Organisation.” “APEC has got no charter over World Trade Organisation, that is a fact. Those matters can be raised at the World Trade Organisation,” he said.

Sources told the AFP news agency that the US had pressed for the leaders to issue a statement that would amount to a denunciation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a call for its wholesale reform.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Of particular interest for me, though, was that the New Zealand Prime Minister featured prominently, announcing that leaders from Australia, New Zealand, Japan & the United States were jointly planning to spend millions of dollars to help bring reliable electricity to the majority of people in PNG, seen as a way to counter China’s increasing influence in the South Pacific.

I think came across very well – in the tv news clip they ran (embedded in the linked article). She got more air time than Justin The Wuss Trudeau. And she looks good.

Newsroom:  APEC ends in disarray

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has ended in dissarray, with leaders not being able to reach consensus on the official communique.

The rising conflict between the US and China, who are currently engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war, played out in the room during the APEC Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby on Sunday afternoon (Sunday evening NZT).

Issues of trade – particularly reform of the World Trade Organisation – tarrifs, intellectual property and artificial intelligence are understood to have be the sticking points.

While all 21 leaders agreed on the majpority of the leaders’ communique, there were a few paragraphs the US and China would not budge on.

This is the first time a joint communique would not be delieverd by the APEC leaders since the practice began.

Deaths in the US

Mass shooting deaths in the US usually get a lot of publicity. The number of gun violence deaths for 2018 is currently 12,869 – Gun Violence Archive.

There is some media coverage of the California fire toll, but despite the large number of possible casualties – currently 76 deaths have been confirmed, over a thousand people are missing. Some may have just got the hell out of the inferno area, and remain unaccounted for, but the toll is certain to grow.

The Atlantic: A Deadly Tsunami of Fire

The Camp Fire now ranks among this century’s worst U.S. natural disasters, and the number of dead could still rise.

Seventy-six people are dead. At least 1,276 are missing. And more than 7 million have been confined to their homes, as a cloud of toxic, corrosive ash darkens their windows and creeps under their doors.

The Camp Fire—which is still burning across some 232 square miles of Northern California—now ranks among the worst natural disasters to hit the United States this century. Only a handful of hurricanes and a “super outbreak” of tornadoes in 2011 have killed more Americans. This fire has robbed more Californians of their lives than has any earthquake since 1933.

There are obviously many other deaths in the US. There was one last week that will go unnoticed by all but a small handful of people.

Last Tuesday morning when on my way to work I received a phone call advising of the death in Texas of my younger brother.  As he rarely communicated – I visited him there in 2003, and last heard from him in 2013 (he didn’t reply to a recent email which was normal for him), so this came as a shock.

But from what I have learned his health had not been good for some time. he had diabetes and was suffering from related conditions.

Apparently was trying to treat himself. At this stage I can only guess, but I presume that the US user pays health system had something to do with this.  He lived on his own, and because of poor health, including being on crutches, it’s likely he couldn’t afford for decent health care.

He had options, like coming back to New Zealand and getting help from family and our health system, but for some reason he struggled on his own in the US, and as a result died early. Texas, where everything is big – apart from health care for the poor. (Neighbours and people we have been dealing with over his death have been very helpful).

I haven’t seen much of Martin since I left home – he has mostly lived overseas, in Australia, the UK and for the last quarter of a century in Texas.  His death there is just one, and more insignificant than most in the US.  But it means something to me and other family.

Martin George
Ex-Kiwi with a drawl
20 July 1959-11 November 2018



Flag change debate demonstrates partisan support shifts

The flag change debate and referendum became dominated by partisan shifts in support – one of the more significant being Labour’s shift from supporting flag change to opposing it, which appeared to be more an anti-John Key position shift.

Analysis shows that many voters shifted their preference for change based on their party support – the result was swayed by partisanship.

So it is imperative that future referendums, like the upcoming (some time) cannabis referendum, does not become a political shit fight. To avoid it being a partisan pissy contest the party leaders should make it clear it is a conscience type vote.

NZH: Follow the leader: What the flag debate revealed about our personal politics

When it comes to issues as seemingly apolitical as changing the flag, the party leaders we back can still change the way we sway.

That’s according to a study published this month by Kiwi researchers, who used the much-debated flag referendum to investigate how partisanship can shape our own attitudes and preferences.

“Our research shows that the positions taken by political leaders and political parties can have an important impact on peoples’ preferences, even on issues that are supposed to reflect personal preferences,” said study leader Nicole Satherley, of the University of Auckland.

The longitudinal New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) happened to include questions measuring voters’ attitudes about changing the flag in 2013, before the referendum was introduced, and again in 2016, after it had been introduced.

Satherley and colleagues capitalised on these data, examining participants’ support for changing the flag (“yes,” “no,” or “unsure”) and the degree to which participants in the study also supported or opposed the National and Labour parties.

As the researchers hypothesised, the data showed that participants tended to shift their opinions to align with those of their preferred political party.

Overall, 30.5 per cent of National voters and 27.5 per cent of Labour voters moved away from the position they originally reported in 2013 to become closer to, or consistent with, the position endorsed by their party leader.

In other words, the researchers found that support for either National or Labour predicted whether individual voters remained stable in their views or changed over time.

Relative to remaining opposed to changing the existing flag design, strong National supporters were more than three times as likely to shift their opinion in favour of a flag change compared with those who expressed low support for National.

At the same time, staunch Labour supporters who originally backed the change were more likely to shift toward opposing the change, compared with participants who expressed low support for Labour.

And strong party supporters whose opinions were already in line with the party position were less likely to shift their attitudes over time compared with participants who expressed low levels of party support.

Can the party leaders promote a true non-partisan choice-of-the-people referendum on recreational use of cannabis when that eventually happens (it must be before or with the next general election in 2020)?

If we have a referendum on euthanasia can that be non-partisan?

The researchers said the findings raised some important questions for future research, such as what motivated party supporters to switch their votes, and whether they did so to align themselves with their party leaders, or just to combat the opposing party.

These are important tests, because when we get around to deciding things like constitutions and becoming a republic it will be critical that the debates and referendums are no hijacked by political parties for their own benefit.

Much will depend on how the party leaders deal with any referendum.

France, Germany look to strengthen Euro zone (without Britain)

French President Emmanuel Macron called on Sunday for Germany and France to dig deeper as allies in their bid to spearhead a more united Europe, including by overcoming lingering scepticism on issues such as a euro zone budget.

In a speech to the German lower house of parliament on Sunday at an event honoring war victims, Macron said the onus was on France and Germany to pursue those efforts.

“This new phase can be scary as we will have to share, pool together our decision-making, our policies on foreign affairs, migration and development, an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources, build a common defense strategy,” Macron said at the Bundestag.

“We have to overcome our taboos and overcome our habits.”

Macron, who later met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin for talks, evoked a world “at a crossroad” in his speech, pitting nationalist movements “with no memory” against more modern, progressive ones.

“Europe, and within it, the Franco-German alliance, has the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos,” he said.

Meanwhile: Theresa May to visit Brussels this week as she defends Brexit deal


Media watch – Monday

19 November 2018


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Open Forum – Monday

19 November 2018


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 for you to raise topics that interest you. 

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Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

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 ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
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Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria.

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