Hillary Clinton to speak in New Zealand

For those who are interested and have a few hundred dollars to spare Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak in Auckland in May.


Free from the constraints of running, Secretary Clinton will share the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.

Secretary Clinton will take audiences on a journey; What Happened and what’s next. A story of resilience, Secretary Clinton explains how she got back up after a loss, and how we can all look ahead.

An illuminating insight into Secretary Clinton’s experience as a woman in politics — she lets loose on this topic, and others, in a way she never has before.

Official media release:

Leading Australian business events provider, The Growth Faculty, has announced today, An Evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton, a series of three exclusive and intimate events with Secretary Clinton to take place in in Auckland (Monday 7 May 2018), Melbourne (Thursday 10 May 2018) and Sydney (Friday 11 May 2018).

First-access tickets are on sale and only available via www.thegrowthfaculty.com for a limited time, ahead of general release. Ticketing information is attached within the media release.

An Evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton will see Secretary Clinton provide her personal insights into the 2016 US presidential election, its aftermath and what the future holds, sharing stories from her New York Times bestseller, What Happened.

“From lawyer and activist, to first lady, senator, secretary of state and first female presidential candidate of a major American political party, Secretary Clinton’s extraordinary career and story of resilience is one that business leaders and the wider community will find both fascinating and inspiring,” says The Growth Faculty Managing Director, Karen Beattie.

It’s certainly not something I would be interested in going to if she was speaking at the local hall, let alone in Auckland.

No evidence that the Russians have influenced this event.

Media “let’s not do this” on TPPA protest meeting

According to The Daily Blog there was a ‘Let’s Not Do This!” public meeting protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership lst night in Auckland, the first in a nationwide tour by Jane Kelsey, Laila Harre and Burcu Kilic.

But the media seem to have a ‘let’s not do this’ attitude to TPPA protest these days, a big change from two years ago. I can’t find any reports.

Even The Daily Blog seems to be largely disinterested given scant reaction shown there.

Here is the only feedback on the meeting I can find, at The Standard:

At last night’s anti-TPPA-11 meeting in Auckland, Laila Harre said that there is no protection for NZ sovereignty over it’s labour/employment laws in the TPP agreement our government plans to sign on 8th March.

Harre has been researching and writing a thesis on it.

She says such agreements cannot protect our labour laws and this needs to be done through the ILO.

Under the TPPA that our government plans to sign, they could be sued for the labour regulations the government is planning to implement.

Harre and Kelsey say that if this agreement is signed, it will be used as a model for other trade agreements.

Kelsey said some in the labour caucus won’t to maintain such a model. But this model is in crisis, and we need to respectful campaign to shift the balance in the government to something more progressive.

National Day of anti-TPPA action on Sunday 4th March.

Demo in Wellington on day of signing, 8 March.

FUrther meetings around NZ before then.

The protest movement seems to be in ‘let’s not do this’ mode.

Media funkstille as far as I can see.

A fan of the Banksy exhibition

Contrasting with ‘The Auckland Banksy exhibition sucks’ is a post by Martyn Bradbury praising the Banksy exhibition.

The Daily Blog: The Liberal Agenda – Banksy Exhibition – 5 stars

By turning up in your thousands you tell Banksy his work matters and you fulfil the spirit of danger his art exists in by scaring the bejesus out of the Government security agencies who will be inevitably monitoring the exhibition.

The ability to criticise freely because of zero consequence is a power beyond branding and that’s why on its first day a staggering 1800 packed the Aotea Centre to get the chance to see his work up close.

To suggest missing this exhibition would be akin to a book burning is not an overstatement in any measure.

So he’s a fan.

By turning up in your thousands you tell Banksy his work matters and you fulfil the spirit of danger his art exists in by scaring the bejesus out of the Government security agencies who will be inevitably monitoring the exhibition.

Let the GCSB and SIS know that are in trouble if the revolution ever erupts.

Bradbury has turned his hope for starting ‘the revolution’ to an exhibition staged by the ex-manager of a street artist.

I doubt that the GCSB or SIS will be at risk of their bejesus scared all that much.


‘The Auckland Banksy exhibition sucks’

Off-street art from a famous street artist – exhibited by a con artist?

From ‘rincewind4x2’: The Auckland Banksy exhibition sucks

I went Sunday and came out throughly dissappointed. Here’s why.

First major problem was the cost; $35 (before “fees”). That is really expensive for any art exhibition, but considering this is an anarchist, anti-consumerist, satirical street artist exhibition, it’s pretty fucking exorbitant.

As for the art itself, it was fine … sorta.

The thing is; Banksy’s art itself isn’t actually that impressive. Compared with the fucking wizardy other London street art can be, Banksy’s stencil art is kinda mediocre. What makes his art awesome is what it says and where he puts it. Which is cool, but when you take it out of it’s original context and pigeonhole it into some random exhibition it loses a lot of the punch that makes it so kick-ass in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like Banksy’s work, but because he actually goes to Palestine to paint anti-war sentiments, and goes to the worlds most prestigious art galleries to hang up his own Dadaist creations, none of that really comes up in this exhibit though.

Take this image I took (which sums up my sentiments about this exhibit).

Prints like this make up about 70% of the exhibit, and that image looks identical to this image I got from google, which looks identical to how I saw it.

What’s worse is that of the prints there are usually about 2-6 of each, with little to no variety between them all, so you’re paying to see duplicates, which really just doubles down on the lack of originality.

So that was the problem with the art, now lets get into the political side of things. Remember how I said how Banksy was a “anarchist, anti-consumerist, satirical street artist”? How ironic would it be if an exhibit by him was shamelessly sponsored by a bunch of corporations that had nothing to do with him for exposure?

…The first thing you see when you enter Aotea center is a car decaled with all they corporate sponsors logo’s hideously mimicked in his style.

But honestly, by far the most obnoxious, lack of self-aware bullshit of all of this was that you LITERALLY HAD TO EXIT THROUGH THE FUCKING GIFT SHOP.

Yeah fuck this exhibit, if you want to see Banksy look at some of his images on Imgur, do not contribute to this bullshit.


I got down-voted on a previous thread for saying this but really Banksy is just a political cartoonist whose canvas is the world; taken out of their situational contexts, his images resemble the type of political satire that would be just as at home in any mainstream newspaper.


I was lucky enough to go to the first major exhibition by him (Turf War) when I was living in East London in the early 2000s – it was hilarious + subversive. (Eg, there was a live pig with “FUCK PIGS” spraypainted on it in a pen in the centre of the warehouse.) Oh, and it was free, like most stuff he’s done. (‘Dismal Land’ had £3 entry tickets, limited to 500 people a day, but that was the only one with an entry fee.)

This show, though, is just a cash grab by his ex manager, to make money off suckers. There’s a good reason that another artist (Adnate) painted ‘a version of Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ with Lazarides as Judas and Banksy, behind his trademark monkey mask, as Jesus’ when this exhibition was displayed in Melbourne.

It makes it worse that ratepayer money is funding it.. it’s like finding out the Council has just bought ten thousand pairs of Adidos sneakers with four stripes for its staff to wear. :\


Makes council members happy they used public money to promote anti-establishment art.


I was kind of amused by the fact that there is a sign describing he how he had an ‘acrimonious’ split with his manager Steve Lazarides, and then as I am leaving I notice that the whole thing has been curated by Steve Lazarides.

The exhibition promotion The Art of Banksy clearly shows Lazarides as curator…

…but unless you know he is Banksy’s ex manager who has acrimoniously split that will mean nothing to you.

The Art of Banksy

Bringing the iconic artist of Bristol to the centre of Auckland, the exhibition takes visitors on journey, exploring the questionable genius of the world’s most infamous street artist with a retrospective of over 80 of the artists’ off-street masterpieces.

I thought he became famous for provocative on-street art.

Most famously known for his stencilling technique, Banksy’s artwork combines dark humour with underlying political messages and social themes, which have made him one of the biggest contemporary artists of our time.

Maybe Lazarides is a bit of a con artist.

Anti-Israel speech in Auckland mosque

Stuff reports:  Calls to expel Iran diplomat from NZ after fiery anti-Israel speech ‘fuels radicalism’

An Iranian diplomat has been accused of fuelling radicalism with a fiery, anti-Israel speech at an Auckland mosque.

Jewish community leaders want Hormoz Ghahremani, first secretary of the Iranian Embassy, to be expelled after he appeared alongside speakers who denied the Holocaust and called for the “surgical removal” of Israel.

In his speech, Ghahremani said Israel was trying to “deceive the world” by pretending to be an advocate of peace when in fact it was fuelling terrorism and extremism in the Middle East to divert attention from the Palestine issue.

Muslim nations needed to unite against “the anti-human regime of Israel and discern their common enemy with profound insight”, he said.

He said Quds Day was established “to deal a powerful punch to the mouth of the cancerous tumour known as evil Israel,” and cited Imam Khomeini as saying that “if every Muslim were to spit in the face of Israel, Israel would drown”.

The annihilation of the “Zionist regime” had begun, he said, and Israel would not last for another 25 years.

Community elder Sayed Taghi Derhami, a Mt Albert accountant, told attendees at the event that Israel was a “cancerous gland” that had to be “surgically removed”.

It’s good to see this exposed, but sad to see this sort of divisive rhetoric in New Zealand.

Members of the Jewish community say it’s outrageous that the representative of a foreign Government should make such comments. The speech was in June but has only just come to light.

Ghahremani told Stuff he agreed the speech could be seen as inflammatory, but it had to be taken in the context of the event at which it was given. He spoke at a gathering to mark the annual Quds Day, initiated by Iran in the 1970s to support Palestinians and oppose Zionism.

Contacted at the Iranian Embassy in Wellington, Ghahremani said his speech was supposed to be private and he was upset it had been put on the internet. “It was something private, a small gathering. I was there to reflect the position of the Iranian Government.

“We do not recognise the Israeli Government, that’s not a secret. But we are not against their existence.”

A small private gathering – but it is still inflammatory and divisive language. Someone saw a need to make it public – good on them.

But it needs to be remembered that that is just a small minority. Coincidentally:

News this weekend of the aggressively-worded speeches comes after rallies against racism. New Green MP Golriz Ghahraman denounced racism at a rally in front of Parliament on Saturday.

Extreme rhetoric comes from different minority groups.

Ghahraman, who came to NZ from Iran as a refugee as a child, said on Saturday night that she was concerned that racist rhetoric was becoming more common place in mainstream New Zealand politics. ​”We are seeing this insidious racism creep into the mainstream,” she warned. “It’s important to note the Holocaust was the most harrowing of crimes against humanity.”

Unsurprisingly Israelis are unhappy with the speeches.

Juliet Moses, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Council, said the fact an Iran Government representative was making such inflammatory statements was concerning. “It’s not a great surprise in one sense, because statements like this come from Iranian leaders all the time, but when those words are being spoken in New Zealand it’s a very different matter,” she explained.

“What audience is being spoken to here and what are they believing and what messages are they taking from that? Clearly Islamist terrorism is becoming more frequent in Western countries, and Jews are essentially at the coalface.”

Moses said she hoped the Government would investigate and take action against Ghahremani. “Expulsion might be an option.”

Expulsion is always an option, but I don’t know if it is justified in this case.

What if the Auckland Council put this much effort into housing and transport?

The Auckland Council employs 234 communications staff at a cost of $45 million. They seem intent on talking about what they might do – perhaps a lot of these resources would be better targeted at actually doing, especially on challenging issues like housing and transport.

NZH: $45m bill for communications at Auckland Council

Auckland ratepayers are picking up a $45.6 million tab to run communication departments, employing 234 staff, at Auckland Council and five council-controlled organisations, according to a leaked review.

A “confidential draft” of the review, obtained by the Weekend Herald, has uncovered a huge blowout in communication salary costs at four council bodies.

Between 2013 and 2017, salary costs soared by 75 per cent at Auckland Council, 87 per cent at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) and 56 per cent at Auckland Transport.

Salary costs rose by 104.5 per cent at Panuku Development Auckland, which was formed in September 2015 from the merger of Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Council Property Ltd.

Just on ‘communications’?

The actual dollar figures of the communications salary totals, including the rises, at the council-controlled organisations are not included in the report, or available at this time.

The Communications & Engagement review includes media and communications, marketing, research and consultation staff.

Consultation with ratepayers is important, as is marketing, but 234 staff sounds a lot.

The review is one of four ‘value for money’ reviews commissioned by Auckland Council as Mayor Phil Goff strives to find savings and efficiencies in the council’s budget – one of his key election campaign pledges.

The findings of the review will confirm Goff’s concerns during last year’s mayoral campaign that there are too many communications staff at council and “way above what it could be”.

According to the communications review, a previous business case to improve communications at Auckland Council in 2014 largely failed. The 2014 goal was to reduce the number of communications staff to 92. Staff numbers have increased to 105.

The business case recommended council develop a strategy for communications and engagement. “No strategy has been developed,” the latest review said.

The review said there is no formal communications strategy across the council and CCOs. It calls for a strategy to achieve a co-ordinated, consistent and collaborative approach.

It also called for cost savings of 5 per cent a year for the next three years.

After a 2014 business case to reduce staff they instead increase staff and costs by 56% to 104.5%. Targeting a reduction of 5% seems lame and hard to have confidence in.

Property prices down in Auckland, up in regions

House prices in Auckland are down slightly over the past quarter, and has also been flat to lower in Tauranga and Christchurch and other urban areas except for Rotorua, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Invercargill.

RNZ: House price growth ‘runs out of puff’ in cities

Latest data from QV shows house price growth around the country slowing, with the national average climbing 4.3 percent in the year to September.

In Auckland, though values had grown 0.8 percent over the year, they dropped back in the last three months to an average of $1,039,066.

Values fell in a number of Auckland suburbs, including the North Shore and Waitakere, while rising in Rodney and the city centre.

QV national spokesperson David Nagel said the usual spring surge in listings had not happened yet.

“The reductions in quarterly value growth have extended from just the main centres last month to almost all the 15 major urban areas we track with the exception of Rotorua, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Invercargill,” he said.

Year-on-year growth was showing double digit gains in many provincial towns, but the quarterly figures revealed a gradual slowing of the property market in almost all city locations, he said.

“Values are reflecting small decreases in all but a few isolated pockets of Auckland while Tauranga and Christchurch have also shown a small decline over the past quarter.”

NZH: Auckland house values fall: lack of finance blamed

Auckland’s housing market stalled in the last three months with property values falling by 0.6 per cent and buyers unable to get finance being blamed.

The QV House Price Index showed Auckland values only rose a meagre 0.8 per cent in the last 12 months – the slowest pace of annual growth since April 2011.

Isn’t the flattening of prices in Auckland a good thing?  property inflation had been causing major problems.

Despite the drop, the average current value now stands at $1,039,066 – putting most houses out of the reach of first-home buyers.

Problems like that.

Nationally, values rose 1.1 per cent in the last three months to September and 4.3 per cent annually.

Last month, QV blamed winter, bank lending limits, the election and China’s crackdown on capital flows for national house value growth being the slowest in five years and Auckland values hitting their most glacial pace since 2011.

  • Hamilton values rose 1.3% in the last quarter and 3.2% in the last year.
  • Tauranga values fell 0.1% in the last quarter but rose 6.6% annually.
  • Wellington values rose 0.8% quarterly and 10.7% annually.
  • Rotorua values were up 4.5% quarterly and 16.2% annually.
  • Christchurch values fell 1% quarterly and 0.8% annually.
  • Queenstown Lakes values rose 0.7% quarterly and by 12.6% annually.


Labour lost in Auckland

Labour performed relatively poorly in parts of Auckland, and there are suggestions that is due to the ethnic/immigrant vote. The ‘Chinese sounding surnames’ misstep as well as their immigration policies will have played a part.

Labour recovered from what looked like a slide to oblivion to a creditable result in the circumstances, about 36% – although it should be noted that in mid 2013 before and just after David Shearer resigned as leader, they were consistently polling in the mid thirties and as high as 37%.

This election labour recovered the least in parts of Auckland. Greg Presland has done a quick analysis in Where did Labour gain its extra votes?

I then tallied the figures across geographical regions.  I treated the Maori electorates separately as clearly something happened there.

Basically the figures suggest the increase in the vote in South and West Auckland was disturbingly small, Wellington was good, Christchurch really good, provincial areas were good especially in the South Island, the University electorates all showed significant improvement in party votes and the Maori electorates performed out of their skin.

Here is the table:

Auckland South 3.70%
Auckland West 7.40%
Waikato 9.50%
Auckland Istmus 9.90%
Auckland North 10.30%
Central North Island 10.50%
Wellington 11.30%
Canterbury rural 11.80%
Northland 12.20%
South Island rural 12.30%
Christchurch 13.70%
Dunedin 15.20%
Maori 18.50%

A few comments:

  1. The South Auckland electorates barely moved.  Perhaps the Labour vote has been maxed out and there is going to be no more persuasion occurring.  Turnout clearly should be the strategy and voting levels are not great.
  2. The West Auckland results are disappointing.  If it was not for a healthy boost from Helensville (11.9%) the result would have been very mediocre…

…As for reasons for Auckland’s relatively poor performance I suspect that elevated real estate prices has made too many of us closet tories.  But organisationally it needs more dedicated resource.  If Labour wants to win in 2020 then it needs to make sure that Auckland is organised and ready to go.

Ex Labour MP Chris Carter commented in response:

Jacinta did extraordinarily well and Labour’s vote gain outside Auckland was impressive. It seems obvious to me as someone who campaigned in West Auckland for Labour for over 20 years that the failure to connect with “ethnic voters” was a key factor in those West and East Auckland electorates failing to lift Labour’s final result.

I spent 7 years as Labour’s Ethnic Affairs Minister and many other years as Labour’s Ethnic Affairs Spokesperson. There is no substitute for personal relationships and close engagement in building support in the Chinese, Indian, Korean and the dozens of other ethnic communities that make up a big slice of Auckland’s population.

To my successors as West Auckland MPs and to the current Labour leadership l urge you to attend every ethnic cultural event you are invited too, not just once but always.

I never had a free weekend in the whole time l was an MP because attending ethnic events was so critical. Indeed the job of Ethnic Affairs Minister was the least popular choice in Cabinet jobs because of Helen’s recognition that those migrant votes were so important and could not be ignored. We just had to out perform the Nats in building those critical personal connections.

I would like to think that my work in that area helped. Connecting in a very personal way with the 184 ethnic groups that help make up the greater Auckland area is even more critical now than it was in 1999.

How much has Labour dropped the ethnic ball? They put a lot of effort into Auckland, setting up an Auckland office and giving Matt McCarten free reign until the intern scheme turned to custard.

But their main target seems to have been young voters, a demographic notoriously difficult to get out to vote.

Labour promoted their disproportionately large Maori representation, and succeeded in getting an increased Maori vote and picking up all Maori seats.

But it looks like they have some work to do addressing the immigrant and ethnic population in Auckland.

Fuel pipeline repaired

The fuel pipeline between Marsden Point and Auckland that severely disrupted travel at Auckland Airport has been repaired.

RNZ:  Broken fuel pipeline replaced

The broken piece of pipeline that carries fuel from Marsden Point to Auckland, and which prompted dozens of flights to be grounded, has been replaced.

Since the 170-kilometre pipe was found ruptured 9 days ago and shut off, airlines have had to ration their fuel supply.

Refining New Zealand said the new piece of pipe passed a welding inspection last night, and they were now preparing to start putting fuel through it.

The agency said plans remain on track to deliver jet fuel into Wiri between tomorrow and Tuesday.

The flight plans of thousands of air passengers have been disrupted after the sole pipeline carrying jet fuel, petrol and diesel to the city from Refining New Zealand’s Marsden Point ruptured last week.

Flights are now returning to normal and the fuel restrictions on airlines have been loosened.

The tanker Matuku has been loaded with jet fuel and diesel and is due to leave the refinery at 5am on Saturday morning, bound for Auckland.

So things should be back to normal soon, hopefully with valuable lessons learned by swamp kauri diggers and by those who need to have contingency plans.

Song for the campaign – Serf City

‘Alvis’ posted:

There’s a song out now about NZ’s descent into the third world, or is it back to the middle ages? Released to coincide with the election:

More information on their blog: Serf City

This post is a heads up about the new single release from The Hopkinsville Goblins, “Serf City”, tied to some wider thoughts on the current state of things.

…see politics as a surrealist circus at best and a dance of death at worst. The truth probably lies halfway in between. Let’s face it. Democracy is basically a lottery in which you risk giving people you wouldn’t ordinarily piss on the power to control your destiny. I guess it beats fascism, but there are some sliding scales of democracy so you need to be careful what you are talking about.

Democracy at best is an illusion derived from the clever use of statistics. There hasn’t been a real mandate for any government to rule in any world power for longer than anyone can comfortably remember. Last year saw the big backlash against this, but the effect was even worse than the cause. Rock to the left, hard place to the right.

After the insanity around the world throughout 2016, the good people of New Zealand are now facing their own political circus in September this year. Yes, we get to choose from the same parade of ego-maniacs, carpet-baggers and crooks that have always called parliament home, plus the clutch of do-gooders who try (and fail) to keep it real.

All of this taking place while the country slides ever further into third world status. Possibly an exaggeration, but it wouldn’t surprise me if smallpox makes a comeback here first, or some new and unknown super, resistant-to-everything bug busts out here to decimate the tiny population as a warm up to taking down the rest of the planet. Plague and poverty are ours for the taking.

The Hopkinsville Goblins have a new single out. It’s a thinly disguised stab at life in New Zealand’s largest city – a place now so absurdly over-priced that even its own residents can’t afford to live there. For the few that can it’s probably a really nice place to be, although it does tend to rain a lot. For everyone else it’s … well, get the single and you can sing along to the chorus.

Let them eat lamingtons on the last bus home

Alvis describes themselves as “the agent on Earth for the Hopkinsville Goblins, passing on interstellar wisdom of the musical kind.”