Standard oversensitive to being criticised on an insensitive post

This should have just been me making a point at The Standard this morning, but showing signs of past intolerance of criticism they overreacted, threatened me with a ban, demoted the thread and then it seems banned me anyway because i couldn’t in response to lprent’s censorship (he may not have seen the post as it was originally so may have fired a broadside half cocked).

MickySavage posted Which National MP leaked Bridges’ expense details? In the main it was similar to my post on the same topic this morning, but it included a very inappropriate graphic that mocked mental health and named MPs – here’s the graphic, still on their tweet of the post:

I simply said “I think this is a poor taste post in the circumstances. Mental health is not a joke, nor should it be used for making cheap political shots.”

Te Reo Putake reacted:

Pete, with the exception of the ‘cluedo’ picture, there is nothing humorous in this post. No jokes are made in the post about the mental health issues of the MP concerned.

So, in short, your comment is in poor taste and you are using the matter to make a cheap political shot.

Poor form.

There was nothing political about my comment at all, and the cluedo picture was prominent (before any text) and that was worse than a cheap political shot.

But TRP was still overreacting:

Pete, the graphic has been around since the original leak. Posts have to illustrated with something and in the circumstances (a fast breaking news story about a mystery MP) it’s not inappropriate.

However, you didn’t specifically mention the graphic in your whinge. You specifically called out the post.

So you were having a crack at the author for your own beigely bland political purposes.

If I were you I’d just be grateful you were merely admonished, not banned. If you have anything to say about the substance of the story, have at it. If not, silence is golden.

The graphic was the most prominent part of the post, so yes, I called out the post. Perhaps I could have referred specifically to the graphic but it was fairly obvious.

I didn’t have a crack at the author at all, I didn’t refer to the author. I called out a crappy post.

And got threatened with a ban for it – that’s how The Standard used to operate when called out for crappy posts. Seems like now TRP is back they are back to message control.

MickySavage was initially defensive:

I thought about this.

First there is no proof that the person has mental health issues.

Second it is clearly a topic of public interest.

Third there have been numerous allegations from the right that Labour was responsible for the leak. Clearly this is not the case.

Fourth the emphasis is on disunity in National’s ranks and Bridges’ poor judgment.

Fifth I raise the possibility of canning the inquiry.

It has been made very clear through the day that it was predominantly a mental health issue. Otherwise his poinnts are fair given the issue and circumstances.

And he must have thought some more about it, because a wee while later the graphic was replaced and the post was amended:

Update:

I agree that mental health is an important issue so I am replacing the picture associated with the post.  The story is relevant however.

So my comment was effectively accepted as valid and appropriate action was taken. Good on MickySavage for that.

But then lprent got involved

[lprent: Just read through this thread. Basically TRP is correct. You are wrong. Shoving this silly diversion thread to the end of post. ]

He may not have seen the original graphic, but TRP was wrong and MickySavage eventually took the right action.

I don’t care about it being dropped to the bottom of the post, from here, and I don’t care if they ban me, but while i can and where I’ll can I won’t back down from giving my opinion on what i think are crappy aspects of posts or moderation.

And they also seem to have banned me without saying, because i haven’t been able to respond to lprent’s interfering (it had already been dealt with) and his typical overreaction.

Different views and racism at The Standard

Some interesting discussions and reactions about racism at The Standard, triggered by the debate over Donald Trump’s shithole comments.

Yesterday Bill posted Two Faced Liberalism.

Anyone want to lay out what the essential difference might be between picking and choosing between broad categories of migrants and picking and choosing between broad categories of migrants?

What’s the difference at play in preferring “skilled” migrants over supposedly “unskilled” ones or Norwegian migrants over Haitian ones; moneyed ones over poor ones? Liberals might argue that the former and latter are nuanced and better targeting for economic exploitation than the middle one. And some might point out that the middle is informed by racism while the former and latter aren’t. But then, that last point is just to argue that some forms of discrimination are okay while others aren’t.

Anyone inclined to get on a high horse over Trump splabbing shit about preferring Norwegian migration to Haitian migration should, surely, get all fired up over preferring those who might be considered economically exploitable to those who might be considered economic liabilities. It’s the same shit afterall – born of discrimination.

And while we’re here, Haiti is a shit-hole. Would you live there? Or would you want to bring up a family there? I wouldn’t.

I don’t really know much about current Haiti, but it’s home for over 10 million people. Perhaps many of them wouldn’t be fussed about living in New Zealand.

To slam Trump for his bullshit as though it’s such a terrible thing to refer to a place as a shit-hole (who hasn’t referred to some place as a shit-hole?) and ignore why Haiti and other places on Trump’s list are “places polite society would never refer to in that way”, isn’t just facile – it’s the height of cold fucking hypocrisy.

You give a shit about Haiti and the people living there? Do you? Really!? Or is indulging in a bit of excited monkey spanking over successfully identifying with those who would deem themselves superior to a guy you don’t like, on the basis they’d never (apparently) refer to a place with predominantly black or brown populations by way of Trump’s uncouth terminology – is that all that matters?

Actually one of the latest ‘clarifications’ is that while Trump was critical of Haiti in relation to US immigration he didn’t refer to that country as a shithole (he referred to others as such though).

There was limited reaction to that post at The Standard, but Matthew Whitehead commented:

If Haiti is a shithole, Bill, it’s because the rest of the world has been digging around and shitting on it for quite some time.

It’s really unjust to agree that a developing country like Haiti a is shithole just because it’s been colonized, and is still having wealth transferred out of it, by overseas interests. I would have expected better of you. It’s also very dismissive of the fact that people like you and I might actually have things we could learn from people in Haiti.

I would actually argue that all the types of migration restrictions you mention are informed by discrimination, but okay. I agree there is an inconsistency to thinking skilled migration is fine and opposing the rhetoric of white supremacy, although it isn’t a direct inconsistency that everyone finds easy and obvious because it’s an argument that relies on statistics, not direct inference.

And yes, I actually do give a shit about countries that are less well-off than New Zealand, like Haiti, or Samoa, and have previously given both time (and I don’t mean by spreading “awareness,” lol) and money to help make the situation just a little bit better.

Bill replied:

…it’s because the rest of the world has been digging around and shitting on it for quite some time.

Well, yes. Did you bother reading the link before commenting? The link that comes after You want racism? Read Johnathan M. Katz’s opinion piece… and before There are very specific and traceable reasons as to why Haiti, El Salvador and however many African states might be referred to as ‘shit-holes’. And every single one traces back to liberal capitalism.

I also provided a “get out” clause for anyone who might have felt the urge to get all defensive, but it seems you missed it Matthew. I made no assumption about whether any individual reader of this post has sailed on by the historical colonial context of Haiti and other countries or not. I asked if a bit of excited monkey spanking over successfully identifying with those who would deem themselves superior to a guy you don’t like was taking precedence to giving a shit. Ample room right there for a simple “no”. 😉

There was some discussion on Twitter:

Removing a post would have been a drastic way to deal with it, and would likely have caused a split at The Standard. Instead Presland wisely chose to do a posy of his own providing some different views – Racist dog whistling

We may think that we now live in more enlightened times where the scourge of racism is finally being dealt to and racist behaviour by politicians is no longer considered acceptable.

But recent events suggest to me that racist memes are still being used by the calculating to stir up political support from the bewildered.

A classic example of race baiting has occurred recently in Australia.  Victoria, which currently has a State Labor government, has an election later on in the year.  Clearly the Liberals would love to win back power.  So the Turnbull Government has made a big thing about gangs of young Africans causing problems in Melbourne and how Melbournians are afraid to go out at night.  Peter Dutton, whose level of odiousness almost matches that of Trump, has front footed the attack.  And things have been egged on by Rupert Murdoch owned papers.

Dutton chose to use the right wing playbook.  He attacked the Andrews Government for appointing “weak” judges and suggested that the non existing law and order problem was all because of liberals (small l).

But just when you thought that no politician could sink lower than Dutton Donald Trump describes most of the developing countries as Shithole.  Put aside his misogynist views, his lack of understanding, his overt belligerence, his anti environmental crusade, his attack on the poor and support for the rich and the threat he poses to world peace these comments should result in his removal from office.  In a properly functioning democracy …

But this is a weakness of the democratic system.  Pedalling lies and threatening racial tolerance for political gain should result in automatic failure, every time.  That it does not, and that it is seen to be a legitimate political tool by the right means that we have a problem.

It’s not just been a political tool of the right in New Zealand, with Winston Peters pushing dog whistle racism boundaries regularly, and Labour’s disaster over Chinese sounding name mis-analysis a couple of years ago.

Claims of racism from the left in an attempt to shut down discussion are not uncommon either, as the exchange on Twitter shows.

This is valid and healthy discussion to have here, so good on The Standard for providing a forum for diverse views rather than trying to squash discussion.

Some emotive and interesting comments on that second post. Shona:

My daughter had a knife held to her throat and was threatened with death while a Sudanese 16 year old youth groped her in Central Melbourne during daylight work hours, while she was carrying our her job. i have NO SYMPATHY for these assholes. The aggression against the Sudanese is because of their fucked up religious views of women amongst other things.

And no those views are not to be tolerated in a modern society.They do not give a rats arse about western values. And no Australia and NZ do not need these fucking people . Now out will come all the dearly deluded members of NZ’s oh so tolerant left telling me what a racist I am. I am an atheist and an old fashioned working class feminist . Fuck these people we don’t need em!

A feminist racist? It sounds like she has good reason to be angry, but her target appears to be too broad.

Gristle responded:

A cousin of mine was raped at knife point in the South of USA by a couple of whites.

Am I now meant to think that all white Americans are like that due to their race, nationality, religion? I mean look at the fundamentalist, racist, sexists, class hating people in the USA. (And that includes so many in power.)

“Fuck these people we don’t need them(?)”

Fender:

And my son was stabbed fourteen times by a NZ born white crohn’s disease sufferer who was unemployed and is now in jail. I’m unaware of any religious or misogynist views held by this asshole but obviously he’s from a group that is also not needed in this country (using your logic).

These are isolated personal experiences so it’s fair to cut them some slack if over-reacting.

But we hope that our politicians, and politicians in leadership positions such as Peters and Trump, should have more consideration for a bigger picture than appeasing their own base of racists supporters.

Standard reaction to non-hacking

Despite Slater cleared of hacking claims there’s been an unsurprising reaction at The Standard.

First reaction from Anne:

Oh dear oh dear,

The police are covering up for Slater. Claim he and Ede committed no offence when they hacked into Labour’s computer system. Slater’s going to demand an apology from Little.

Geez… I hope Little ridicules him and tells him where to get off in the strongest of language.

It clearly wasn’t hacking.

Detective Superintendent R T Drew said:

I am satisfied that there is no evidence of criminal offending in relation to the accessing of the Labour party computer records.

Take your pick.

Alan W has asked Anne:

pretty strong claim there Anne, got any evidence to back it up??????

That was at 6.05 pm. No response so far, even thought she has commented four times since on it on another thread [Edit: and has just comment above Alan’s request to back up her claim.] – Daily Review, where mickysavage kicked of the incredulousness:

Despite Slater filming his attack on the Labour Party crippled website the Police are not going to be taking any action. They have to be fecking joking …

As a lawyer he should understand the legal aspects, perhaps he doesn’t understand the IT aspects.

And Anne adds:

The proviso: they’re not protecting so much Slater but JOHN KEY AND HIS OFFICE.

I’m going to use stronger language ms. I call it bloody disgusting. I wouldn’t even rule out interference from some quarter on this one. But of course the police will deny it.

Actually I’m so disgusted I think I will write a letter to the police and tell them what I think of them. Can anyone advise me who to send the letter to… ?

She is probably as likely to get the response she wants as Slater gets from Andrew Little.

Draco T Bastard:

The police seem to be operating at the behest of the National Party.

Lynn Prentice posted on this recently in Charge Cameron Slater or let me hack systems:

  1. In 2011, Cameron Slater, Jason Ede of John Keys parliamentary office and an unnamed IT tech at National party head office accessed files without authorisation on the NZ Labour party website. Far from being the innocent accident that he and National portrayed it as being at the time, subsequent revelations in Dirty Politics (pages 28-36) and the rawshark email dumps showed that they’d actively opened files and paid someone to open database files.What is quite clear from those sources is that this group were deliberately attempting to gain political advantage using this material (which makes it a dishonest purpose under Section 249) and that it involved clearly reckless, unauthorised,and repeated access to the Labour party computer system. This was part of a formal complaint by the Labour party to the police in December 2014 after the election.There appears to have been no outcome from this to date, more than 6 months afterwards.2The Labour party deserves some flak for not laying a complaint with the police in 2011. They generously chose instead to believe the public lies that Cameron Slater and the National party hierarchy were using in 2011.

UPDATE: Bunji has put a post up ta The standard on this now: Whitewash

I just have to express my astonishment with the release late on a Friday afternoon (dump time!) that thepolice will not be pursuing any action against Slater/Ede for hacking Labour’s website.

Given a whole year to investigate, they didn’t manage to find out how to spell Nicky Hager or Tim Barnett’s names.  Yup, that’s how much effort and thought they put into whether a clear case of illegal behaviour warranted police action.

And yet, they seemed to be able to get Nicky Hager’s name right for an invasive search warrant on a journalist and mere witness to discover how Hager found out the details of this illegal behaviour.  How dare he do their job for them!

The incompetence and bias is staggering.  The police need to get to understand computer crimes, and be less scared of prosecuting political/electoral crimes.  Our democracy is in sad need of protection…

The comments generally concur with this, and Adam tries to compare two quite different cases:

So if Jason Ede committed no crime, neither did Rawshark, so the prosecution of Nicky Hager is a waste of police resources.

But there are some alternative takes on it – for example ZTesh:

All I’m seeing are people biased against the outcome complaining against it.

Trying to suggest that the Police are corrupt purely because you don’t get the decision you want is rather churlish not to mention ridiculous. Given that they undoubtedly expect the decision to be legally analysed, I highly doubt that they would lay their careers on the line to protect Cameron Slater….

mickysavage (Greg Presland) is reported to be preparing his own post on it, I hope he is able to put aside partisan emotions and have a decent look at the legal aspects of it.

Standard gossip with strong Labour Party links

Greg Presland (mickysavage) has made a very tenuous claim in What is it with Herald Gossip Columnists?

Another Herald Gossip columnist with strong National Party links, Pebbles Hooper, created a stir yesterday on Twitter by suggesting that the tragic death of an Ashburton mum and her three children was “natural selection”.

That was an awful tweet by Hooper and it deserves condemnation.

But unless Presland has far more solid evidence of “strong National Party links” than he has presented then this is dirty politics from him.

And Danyl Mclauchlan too, who’s tweet features on Presland’s post:

Sacking journalists and replacing them with dregs of Auckland National Party clique working as well as you’d think http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/69968352/pebbles-hooper-ashburton-deaths-were-natural-selection 

Mclauchlan has strong Green party links, having helped James Shaw in his selection as party co-leader.

In comments Presland was asked: What are the strong National party links?

He points to a link provided by Paul:

Here is some background.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11275169

That points to Twelve Questions: Pebbles Hooper, only one of which makes any reference to National:

6. Are you an Act Party voter?

Practically. I’ve already voted National now and I can’t be a politically out there person on Facebook because I would be killed.

That looks like a very weak link. Linking Hooper’s comment with “strong National Party links” requires far stronger evidence than this, otherwise it is just dirty politics from a Standard gossip with strong Labour Party links.

(And there’s plenty of evidence of Presland’s Labour Party links).

And Presland has added this comment:

mickysavage

I thought about whether or not doing this post. It is just another case of a right winger with strange world views not having the decency to keep them to herself.

But you know what? There is whanau and extended whanau grieving right now. They deserve us expressing outrage.

Using a tragedy like this to launch a dirty political attack also deserves an expression of outrage Greg.

“Left wing commentator”

I get called many things and I know I’ve been referred to as a right wing blogger – presumably either by people far more to the left, or presumed based on few post or a single post.

It’s odd where I sometimes find references to myself and to Your NZ. I was checking Your NZ on Alexa and found there was a link in from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newstalk_ZB in a section about Cameron Slater on Larry Williams.

 In 2014, he participated in a series of one-hour pre-election panel discussions on the drive programme – retaining the position following the release of Nicky Hager book Dirty Politics amid calls from left-wing commentators for him to resign.[45][46][47]

I guess I must be left-wing-ish relative to Slater and Williams, on some things at least.

Talking of popping up in other places they don’t seem to be able to let go at The Standard. In Daily Review a few days ago:

Hateatea:

If The Standard only had Open Mike and Daily Review tomorrow, what would PG have to fill up his blog?

mickysavage:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Funny Greg. You seem to be hiding behind a tree listening often enough.

Hateatea:

I had a quick look just before and it would appear that he is fixated on R0B at the moment but I couldn’t be bothered reading yesterday’s to see what that was.

Sad to say, but absence hasn’t made the heart grow fonder

Who’s fixated on whom Hateatea? I did one or two posts referring to R0b and moved on. I post about many blog posts and bloggers, it’s one of the niche things I do.

The rest of the thread is funny too.

I suspect that few of them there see me as a left wing commentator”.

In the political blogosphere the wings flap around a lot but I try to get to the guts of issues somewhere in between.

This could also apply to politics:

Image result for left wing right wing

This depicts a sentiment I see expressed on both the left and the right. The Tweedlenational/Tweedlelabour despair:

This is a good attempt to show various political inclinations.

I think I’m fairly centrist, except on the issues I’m more socialist, conservative, libertarian or populist.

Presland: On Freedom of Speech and Tolerance and Powers of Surveillance

I don’t always see things the same as Greg Presland but he has a very good post at The Standard: On Freedom of Speech and Tolerance and Powers of Surveillance

I was shocked to wake up and read about the killing of staff at Charlie Hebdo and also the killing of two police officers, one of who, Ahmed Merabet, was reportedly of Muslim background.

We should suspend full judgment on what has happened until we have more facts.  Leaping to judgment has previously been shown to be a mistake.  Early speculation about the Sydney Siege was shown to be incorrect, not to mention damaging.

The report from one of the survivors suggests that the killers may have been French born adherents of the Muslim faith and Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the prophet Mohammed was clearly the cause of the attack which appears to have been well planned.  There are reports that the attackers claimed to be from Al-Qaeda in Yemen.  Suspects have been identified.

It is not as if acts of terrorism are unknown, it is just that acts of terrorism involving Muslims appear to receive extra coverage.  For instance the recent firebombing of NAACP offices in Colorado received little local coverage although admittedly no one was killed.  The killing of seven journalists during the recent Israeli attacks on Palestine received little coverage.  But any “Muslim” involvement seems to make the event that much more newsworthy.

There are three implications for our society from these events:

  1. Loss of Freedom of speech
  2. A break down of tolerance
  3. A push by the State to further increase the powers of surveillance.

As to the first there will be a chilling effect on the media.  But we need to protect their right to publish information, even upsetting information.  Satire has to be at the front of the list of what needs to be protected.

And murder is never an acceptable response to taking offence.

Some have suggested there should be a mass publishing of the offending cartoons.  But I do not know why.  I agree with Stephanie Rodgers that in terms of quality they are poor.  And why exercise the right of free speech just to offend?  While we should have the utmost right to say something this does not mean that we should use it to intentionally upset.

That’s a very good point that I agree with. I don’t like some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, I think they get too offensive and provocative (and I don’t understand much about the French context). But they have a right to publish them as I have a choice to support the right but not republish their cartoons.

The “break down of tolerance” has been happening for a while.  Attacks by the extremist fringe of a particular society are said to be justification for condemning that society as a whole.  This is as nutty as blaming Christianity for the actions of the Klu Klux Klan.  But if we allow tolerance to break down then the terrorists are winning.  The best thing we can do is reach out to the various Muslim Communities to show that all we have interesting cultural differences there is so much that we share in common.

Accepting differences and promoting the good in different cultures and religions (and non-religion) is important, and far less dangerous than intolerance, abuse and provocation.

Finally, as for increased surveillance it is a given that the governments’ particularly the right wing varieties, will use this event to push for even further powers of surveillance.  But the question whether increased powers will ever improve things, let alone justify the loss of personal freedom, is never properly answered during these bouts of power grabbing.  After all the actions of a lone gunman in Sydney who pretty well published his nuttiness to the world via Facebook were not stopped.  Allowing even further powers of intrusion into our lives will help how?

That’s a very good question that we need to keep examining. We can never be 100% secure, nor 100% private. Finding a reasonable and reelatively safe balance will be an ongoing challenge.

‘Labour West’ promoting Little and Mahuta leadership

An apparently authorised Labour group (Labour West) is promoting a ‘Meet Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta’ event in West Auckland that currently appears to exclude the other two leadership contenders. The group has strong connections with ex leader David Cunliffe.

‘Labour West’ on Facebook states:

This is the page for the New Zealand Labour Party in West Auckland. Have a look at our posts, check out what our leaders are up to, and visit events.

It has a photo of Labour MPs including David Cunliffe (MP for New Lynn) – the Facebook page seems to have mainly been a promotion for Cunliffe’s leadership and Labour’s election campaign.

LabourWest

Note also the promotion of an event this Saturday – an opportunity to meet leadership contenders Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta. Despite the photo including all four contenders it seems that Grant Robertson and David Parker are not included. This seems very odd for a Labour Party promoted event.

The Facebook page ‘Description’:

This is a page for West Auckland Labour members and supporters. No parliamentary services money has been used in the construction of this website and if it needs authorisation (which is denied) it is authorised by Greg Presland of 512 South Titirangi Road, Titirangi. Go Labour!

Authorised by Greg Presland, a well known supporter and associate of Cunliffe.

There is also an event page on Facebook promoting this meet half the candidates event – Meet Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta:

An invite for westies to meet with Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta and chat with them about their aspirations for the Labour Party and what they want to achieve if they become leader.

“If they become leader” is an interesting phrase.

Labour West leaders edit

It’s easy to guess who might be behind this promotion.

There have been obvious signs of some angling towards favouring a Little/Mahuta leadership team at The Standard, where Presland happens to be an author and sometimes posts under the pseudonym ‘mickysavage’.

Although it is under the generic name of ‘Notices and Features’ this event is also being promoted at The Standard.

Meet Nanaia and Andrew in West Auckland this weekend

By: Date published: 11:44 pm, October 29th, 2014 – 5 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, Nanaia Mahuta – Tags: , ,

Labour West are hosting an event this weekend where you can meet two of the Labour leadership candidates:

Meet Nanaia Mahuta and Andrew Little

5pm to 7pm Saturday 1 November

Ghazal restaurant, Glen Eden

An invite for westies to meet with Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta and chat with them about their aspirations for the Labour Party and what they want to achieve if they become leader.

Facebook event details here.

The West Auckland husting is a week and a half later, on 10 November at the Massey High School Performing Arts Centre. Facebook event here.

One can presume who is responsible for that post.

While it is not unusual for The Standard to be taking sides in leadership contests or attempted coups it seems odd that an apparently authorised Labour organisation is promoting two contenders – and excluding the other two from an event that is obviously leadership contest related.

Standard retirement age discussion

A thoughtful and thought provoking post by mickysavage (Greg Presland) at The Standard on The retirement age debate:

Labour’s policy is to gradually change the age of retirement to 67 with an allowance made for those aged 65 who can no longer work. There are passionate views in support of this and opposing this.

Regrettably the financial analysis is quite clear. The current entitlement to superannuation will drain more and more of the state’s resources and Aotearoa will face a financial crisis in 10 years or so due to the baby boomer bubble approaching retirement.

Labour is trying to show that it is being fiscally responsible by highlighting this as an issue and proposing a realistic solution.

But it is a difficult line. There is policy that a 65 year old whose body is wrecked through work should be allowed to retire now. But allowing everyone to retire gracefully at the age of 65 years means that there will be jobs for 18 year olds to fill. Allowing older citizens to retire later means that there will be less jobs for our young

The debate really needs to be about how we share the resources of our society around. We need to make sure that those of us who are older can exit from the workforce with dignity and those of us who are younger can have jobs.

A commenter points out that Labour’s policy on Super has similarities to ACT’s.

Greg has close connections to David Cunliffe but says he blog comments on a personal basis – but here he seems to be trying to help the Super debate within Labour:

I thought that we should capture the thoughts in one post and let Labour (and the Greens and anyone else) to absorb the thoughts of commentators.

All parties and politicians should absorb whatever they can to try and work out an affordable way of dealing with Super. This must be done on an all party long term basis.

I’ll summarise comments in another post in a day or two.

Droughts and farmers versus beneficiaries

As areas of New Zealand declared drought zones in social media there’s been a growing number of comparisons made between assisting farmers compared to not assisting low paid workers and beneficiaries.

Martin Bradbury at The Daily Blog: How the hardship of farmers and beneficiaries differ

Don’t you love how when farmers face hardship the Government can’t rush fast enough to their aid with drought welfare, yet when the poor face hardship the Government responds with drug testing, contraception for solo mothers and 40 hours forced labour in a private prison.

Helen Kelly at The Standard: We’re all beneficiaries now

The recognition of the need to provide income support to farmers during this drought period is illustrative.  It illustrates the importance of having a comprehensive social protection system that steps in when things go wrong including the weather as in this case.   It illustrates the benefit of Farm Owners of having a union that the Government supports and is prepared to fund to provide much needed services such as co-ordination, animal welfare advice and counselling.

Solo mums are a bit like these farmers.  They are working but not earning and need community support to do that.  For them, they now have to attend job preparation courses and look for work.  They can be drug tested, boot camped and have their benefits cut if they don’t answer the phone when WINZ rings them about something. 

Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish (satire): Bennett announces drought relief get-tough measures

Ms Bennett accepted that there was no evidence of widespread abuse of the scheme by farmers.

But she insisted that the new rules were necessary to keep farmers on the straight and narrow. 

“Struggling farmers who are doing their best to manage and who are looking to find alternative work have nothing to fear,” said Bennett. “These rules are about helping to break the cycle of farmer dependency. Some of this dependency is inter-generational. We can’t afford as a nation to have hundreds of farmers begging for help each and every time a drought is declared.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a farmer or a solo mother,” said Ms Bennett. “If you want a handout from this government then the same rules apply.”

Robyn Norrison New Zealand Labour Party Facebook:

As a side note the farmers moan cause they have no feed for their animals and the govt pays them compensation, what about all the low paid families out there that are having trouble feeding their children where is the govt then, making things worse for them.

Mickysavage at The Standard:

There is a certain irony that farmers, who have a reputation for denying that climate change is occurring and opposing provision of social welfare for members of our community who need it should now be seeking a benefit because of a drought that is undeniably a symptom of global warming.

(micky, a one season adverse weather event in parts of one small country in the world is not “undeniably a symptom of global warming”.)

Comments on blogs follow similar themes of “poor beneficiaries” and “undeserving farmers”.

Low paid families already get government assistance continually through benefits, Working For Families, accommodation allowances, doctors subsidies etc etc. (some farmers may also qualify for some of these).

Some are questioning that farmers facing extreme short term difficulties are getting state assistance.

And they want people who are already getting state assistance, sometimes long term, to get more assistance.

It’s financially tough for people on low wages and benefits.

But it’s hard to compare assistance programmes for farmers who are having short term one off problems due to an abnormal weather event, and a mother who some say should have the freedom to choose the DPB for twenty years without question. Or a worker who receives Working For Families tax credits year after year without question.

And I find it highly offensive to make sweeping statements like “… farmers, who have a reputation for… …opposing provision of social welfare for members of our community”.

Also offensive is the “farmers make money so are bad and deserve any kick in the guts they get” attitudes alongside “poor beneficiaries deserve more and more and more”.

This is just blind bias or ideological pissy politicking.

I acknowledge that it’s only short term tough for farmers – but this means with short tyerm assistance they will be back to earning money and paying taxes again soon.

And I know that being stuck on a benefit without being able to find a job is tough, often for longer than a season of dry weather. And solo mothers and families on low wages can experience long term tough.

But that doesn’t justify denying any other state assistance from anyone else.

Farmers who go broke may become beneficiaries.

We are all a part of our state, we are all due some level of state assistance when justified, and we have to understand there will always need to be tough decisions made about the level and length of state assistance provided.

Labour party views, QED

One of the good things about posts like Eddie’s Shearer to put it to the vote is that they often noodle out comments from people active within Labour, which can provide some interesting insights.

Mickysavage (party member, west Auckland) associated with David Cunliffe:

I would be careful with the suggestion. If from Shearer’s office do you think they would use the Standard to say this? The cynic in me wonders if a bit of disinformation may be going on.

The only reason that Shearer would risk this is if he does not have the numbers for the February vote and it is too early in the year to say for sure. If he will lose the vote then he may as well front foot it. If not why would he risk it?

IrishBill:

I’ve heard similar rumours but I’ll believe it when I see it. That said there have been quite a few feelers put out among the membership by the old guard lately.

IrishBill rarely appears at The Standard but has popped up quickly adding his thoughts  to this post, and as posted in The Standard threat, again he has overreacted to challenges to his own promotion of rumour.

Te Reo Putake (Labour delegate who has been a lonely defender of the party’s direction and actions at The Standard but plays down any allegiance to Shearer, possibly to avoid criticism on a blog that is unfriendly to Shearer support).

Ha, brilliant if it happens! However, I don’t think Shearer has the ability to put it to a wider vote. Remember, it only goes to the party and affiliates* if he loses a confidence vote. There is no Leader trigger for a wider vote that I’m aware of, so he doesn’t actually have the option, short of voting no confidence in himself.

Plus it needs somebody to stand against him. I doubt if Cunliffe feels like being duffed up again, so who would it be?

* it’s not a membership vote, people. It’s caucus, membership and affiliates. It would be nice if Eddie could amend the post to reflect that fact.

But Te Reo Putake hasn’t avoided attacks and accusations like this from Another Viper:

TRP: the gift that keeps on giving!
10 out if 10 for remaining on message.
Zero for putting forward any structured augment other than: Shearer is leader and we may as well stick with him!! It would have some merit if his manipulators had not gone and divided the party.

Good on you for showing up at least: that is a lot more than most of the Labour strategy crowd, who have a hell of a lot of questions to answer

There’s been an interesting change at The Standard with factions splitting and spitting, Te Reo Putake was one of the most persistent attackers of unwelcome comments and commenters and despite frequently breaking blog rules was protected by site moderators. Now aligned with the party/Shearer he has been uncomfortable on the receiving end of attacks that blatantly ignore rules (in other circumstances would have been jumped on by moderators).

Mickysavage again:

There needs to be a 40%+ vote against Shearer being confirmed as leader. This will happen either by a huge majority at his request so that the membership vote can occur or because sufficient MPs are concerned at how things are going.

I don’t think the first option is likely given what happened last November. The contrast is too jarring.

That’s a few comments from Auckland Labour Party members.

Because of the lack of transparency it’s impossible to be sure whether comments are simply personal views or are connected to factions and their power plays. It is likely that all the above commenters know who ‘Eddie’ is and could easily be colluding with him (or could be him).

Auckland Labour is more in the Cunliffe camp. Although Shearer is an Auckland MP it is often suggested he has been installed by a Wellington based ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) faction.

GeoffC :

From what I hear it the same old power play between the orthodox labour right wing and the New Directionalist hand on left wing but being labour power plays rifts and ego are in play.
Centralist shearer vs old guard vs Robertson and co.

If the rumours are true that shearer and Robertson are bring the leadership vote to the wider membership then I say expand it…
A roadshow promoting the new direction policy platform.
Concentric methodology re engagement reconnection of supporters and left identifiers.
Shuffle the line up to include DC on finance and let the show begin.

A win in 2014 starts in feb 2013

Left wing party activists often grossly overstate political leanings and describe Labour caucus and leadership as ‘right wing’ (just as some on the right refer to National as left wing).

A Wellington party member KhandallaViper provides some particularly interesting views.

Reality Check:

Trevor, Annette, Phil and bag carrier Chippie are beavering away like billio trying to avoid a challenge to their meal-ticket.
So what will they be doing?
They will try to break/confuse the process with some populist noise that makes their meal-ticket look strong. Suggestion of a one-candidate membership selection is the idea being floated here.

They are offering safe seats to those MPs who are seen as the swinging voters. Ross Robertson’s seat is being auctioned from under his feet. Future vacancies in Phil’s, Annette’s And Trevor’s fiefdoms are being used as bait. That is is about the once off 40/60 Caucus vote.

They are pushing Meal-ticket to make his speech at the Summer School one that locks-in all of this Caucus promise/bribe stuff. Shearer will say that if he gets a unanimous endorsement (i.e. bought off sufficient swingers) that he will still go on the county-wide tour and make well rehearsed speeches to the revolving peasants. They will then claim this as a full endorsement by the members, and claim that the party is united.
QED

Such is party democracy by vested interest, power clinging and subterfuge.

The meaning of QED:

From the Latin ‘quod erat demonstrandum’, a mathematical term meaning that a proof is complete.

Urban Dictionary also has a more colourful version:

A mathematician’s way of saying “OH SNAP BITCH!”

“So you see, by this simple proof, your theory is wrong and mine is correct. QED!”

The only certainty is that the party infighting will continue, partly played out in social media. The only good thing for Labour is that most of it won’t be seen by the wider voting public.

Whatever eventuates over the next few weeks (I think Shearer will remain as leader) it’s likely the party will remain divided, with many members bitter and disillusioned and leadership continuing to ignore that and pretend everything is fine and on track for a victory in 2014

This will require the Greens of course, there seems to be no aspiration to return Labour to a one on one competitor with National.