The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Centre for the Study of Really Obvious Things 

Accused's family regret attack on honeymooners

Well what the fuck were they going to say - "Good job ... that honeymooning couple really had it coming"?

Great to see the NZH at the cutting edge of journalism once again ... I mean they got real quotes from a foster brother of one of the accused. Woo-hoo!

Whatever next, running letters from bigotted correspondents about how they don't like black people in their neighbourhood, and the need to "put down" Labour MPs like rabid dogs?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I've been thinking ... Prebble doesn't have a monopoly on this 

Interesting to see John Key given free rein to make "mom-and-apple-pie" statements, and to distance himself from the Don, particularly vis-a-vis Orewa I. In fact, as Yamis observed in conversation earlier this week: so far, "he could be in the Labour Party."

Update: David Slack is thinking along similar lines,
albeit with considerably more eloquence, and reference to his wonderful DuckSpeak Machine (TM). He also makes reference to Key's first armoured cheerleading division - y'know the same ones who proclaimed Don Brash to be the greatest thing since since Ruth Richardson up until about, oh, last Thursday.

Full credit to John for being able to answer a question directly (something Don seldom managed): on TV1 last night a reporter asked him "Do you agree that Maori receive special treatment in social services in this country?" (or words to this effect - I can't find the clip) and he quickly replied "No, I don't."

Err, ok, but your party has spent a good deal of the last three years telling the New Zealand public that they do. And your party experienced a spectacular revival in its fortunes based almost solely on expressing this message in the strongest possible terms (thus mixing a few useful observations into a deep barrel of dog-whistle politics). And to the extent that, say, there is still affirmative action in certain University programs, Maori clearly do receive "special" (i.e., preferential) treatment in certain areas.

Some good writing in the Guardian: Polly Toynbee observes that British fat-cats are much like their crony capitalist counterparts in New Zealand: whatever the state of the economy, and whatever their tax rate relative to that found elsewhere, they will complain and whine incessantly about being hard done-by and crippled by the weight of burdensome regulation. They are also "far too tribal" to acknowledge that Labour governments can coexist with successful economies.

And George Monbiot serves up a useful piece on "defence" spending in an era when actual threats to national security generally come from "people who plant bombs on trains", and against whom "submarines, destroyers, Eurofighters and anti-tank rounds are of precious little use."

Friday, November 24, 2006

John Who? 

It's just striking me, and probably quite a few others, that despite my general interest in New Zealand politics, I know absolutely nothing about John Key. I've never seen him in person, or on tv for more than 5 seconds, and can't recall ever hearing him say anything of note. I couldn't tell you his views on any issue of note, except that he favours lower taxes (and this is something of a no-brainer, given it could be said for every National MP).

What makes this situation slightly more curious is that he is actually my local MP (and Yamis'). Quite why a portion of lower middle class suburban Massey is included in the Hellensville electorate is anyone's guess.

I do recall hearing that he doesn't live in, or near, his electorate though ... someone told me he has a mansion with its own vineyard in Remuera. But I can't even vouch for that.

Thankfully, David Slack offers some insight into the next leader of the opposition.

I know Russell Brown has some time for the guy, but I wonder if that's because he looks like an urban liberal. When he's not wearing that godawful tux at least.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Such bright young things, they were 

To think the Labour Party used to be pilloried for the rate at which it went through leaders. Since Helen Clark took over leadership of Labour, National's gone through Bolger, Shipley, English and Brash, as well as a fair few deputy leaders. Labour's only had one change in deputy leader over the same time.

As for all this talk about how National "almost won" the last election ... they did experience a spectacular revival in their fortunes, but it's worth bearing in mind Labour's share of the party vote was essentially unchanged: from 41.26% in 2002 to 41.10% in 2005.

Spectacular, Spectacular 

Those running to the courts to seek an injunction against the stadium claim:
"I'm just doing this as an Auckland resident and ratepayer. In my view the waterfront is one of the city's great assets and its development should be spectacular."

Whether or not they have a case in law, this claim is preposterous. The CBD waterfront is currently an asset only in the sense of industrial economics. It is not publicly accessible, and not aesthetically pleasing. Other parts of Auckland, especially to the north of the bridge, enjoy spectacular water access and views, but the downtown sure doesn't. A waterfront stadium, built to a decent standard, will be spectacular, and might be our only chance to shove the used cars off this prime real estate before 2030.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Breaking news! 

Uh huh, this explains Uncle Don's bizarre recent injunction stopping the publication of the leaked e-mails:
Researcher Nicky Hager revealed today that he is the author of a book based on National Party leader Don Brash's leaked emails.
The book - The Hollow Men: A Study in the Politics of Deception - was to have been launched today but has been caught by a court injunction obtained by Brash last week forbidding publication of the emails.
Hager called a press conference in Wellington this morning and distributed copies of his preface to the book and a foreword by former National MP Marilyn Waring.
The book is "an extraordinary case study of unprincipled and anti-democratic politics," Hager says in his preface.

In other news the Kiwi's are paying $3.70 head to head for this week's Tri-Nation's final clash, $6 for the half time/full time double and should get about a 10 point head start when they release that option later in the week at the TAB.

And in the truly bizarre news of the day, MAF is looking to destroy the exotic lizards sneaked into this country recently in order to teach the smugglers a lesson:
MAF spokesman Phil Barclay says:
Apart from the potential for introducing diseases into New Zealand, the reptile pet trade was cruel and further endangered rare species.

Yeah, you show 'em MAF.

Monday, November 20, 2006

4 taser shocks to the chest + a good pepper spraying 

Equals death, unsurprisingly. And we see the increasingly common, disturbing report from witnesses that the police used the taser as a weapon of first resort, rather than trying to calm someone down by other, nonviolent means. Not to say that encountering people on rampages and in psychotic states is pleasant ... but we don't pay them just to fire their tasers and ask questions later.

And in California, the UCPD show campus cops everywhere how to deal with someone who won't show ID. Take that muthafucka. The video gets really disturbing when buddy with the cell phone gets off his chuff and closer to the action around 1:30 in. An inquiry is underway apparently.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What a fucking idiot 

OJ Simpson 'opens up' on how he, ahem, would have done it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mediocrity in the national character 

The waterfront stadium proposal has bought the whiners and naysayers out of whatever provinvial closets they were hiding in, that's for sure. For the record, I agree with Yamis, whose observations prompted me to realize that I too have always driven immediately to/from Eden Park, without stopping to do anything in the local area. They can use a metaphorical fleet of bulldozers to push those used cars off the wharf tomorrow from my perspective.

Russell Brown uses the word mediocrity in his post today, which reminded me of what I had to say on a similar theme earlier this year. Seems apropo. Why is our first response so often: "oh we couldn't possibly do that (on time/on budget/in a way that wouldn't fall over) in this country"?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It Wasn't Fun While It Lasted 

Well it seems as though the waterfront stadium has as much chance of going ahead as my plans to rule the world.

Rodney Hide has said no for ideological reasons as has Locke from the Greens for much the same reason. How can it be a threat to the environment when all it will be doing is covering polluted water which nobody can swim in? How can it be an eyesore when what's there now is a far greater eyesore and nobody ever complains about it? should come out with an article tomorrow morning saying "A staggering 72% of population don't want Eden Park upgraded" but it will be more about the lack of support for the waterfront option.

Quite frankly the negative is far outweighing the positive comments and given the short time frame I think people are starting to be swayed and once it begins its pretty hard to pull them back.

For a bit of fun I crunched some numbers regarding how much money the stadium could expect to turnover in a decent year.

The ticket prices are all at the conservative end of the scale and I am only counting ticket earning not catering, merchandising and other spending in the surrounding areas or on the way to the stadium.

2 soldout AB tests
6 Super 14 games with 25000 average attendance
6 ANZNPC games with 15000 average attendance
Kiwi test with 30000 there
2 rock concerts with 30000 there
2 one dayers with 25000 there

that's about $30 million in ticket turnover

If it was a good year with the Blues going well and attracting 30000 per game and getting a home semi and final and the NPC team getting more along and getting a home final you could add another 6 or so million dollars to that total.

If it was a wild and crazy year with the place going off and more rock concerts were there and other events unknown at this stage you could potentially get more than 40 million dollars in ticket tunrover. I reckon you could damn near double that in terms of how much people spend going to and from the venue and at it.

But oh no. We like a challenge. It's far more fun to try and get 60000 in and out of Eden Park. And then in 20 years time when we have 2 million people and test matches sell out in 3 minutes we can have the same debate all over again with people complaining about the 3 billion dollar price tag for the waterfront stadium. Instead we will just demolish the entire Mt Eden suburb and build another layer on top to seat 80000 and people can park in Pt Chev and walk there.

I've been to Eden Park a few dozen times over the years and I think from memory I haven't not gone straight home ONCE in all that time. It's a place that I drive to, park miles away from, walk back to the car and drive home from.

But if people are happy to spend 385 million dollars to fix a car wreck which isn't going to get a warrant in a few years time then so be it.

I'd far prefer the brand new Ferrari thanks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Build the Fucking Thing!!!! 

Go Here to give your support for the new waterfront stadium. It's the Auckland City Council website and they are wanting people to give them an idea of their preferred option. At this stage public opinion is being artifically slanted against it by National supporters, people who hate Auckland, and grumpy old herald readers (as if they will have to pay for it with their taxes, they are all either about to die or else are drawing on their superschemes). Your average joe or joeline webblogs who loves his or her sport can't afford the internet or the bloody 0900 poll numbers they are running on TV.

Right, to kick this off, quite frankly I'm getting sick to death of all the bitching moaners who are the same fuckers that complain that nothing ever gets done regarding the waterfront stadium proposal.

That Herald 'survey' was a joke. For starters how do we know that respondents are actually from Auckland? Secondly, how come the three times I tries to register an opinion over two days it kept continuously bumping me back out to the main page so I couldn't comment? Thirdly, do people out there think that a lot of the anti waterfront option is being driven by peoples political persuasion? ie. boring old conservative farts or I-hate-everything-labour-is-involved-with dickwads not being able to look past the end of their ego.

The second I heard about the waterfront proposal I was stunned at how fucking awesome an idea it was. I have no idea who came up with it, but it was one of those ideas that came so far out of left field and was so damn cool.

Eden Park is a complete joke and the problems that it has faced for years will never ever go away. Increasing its capacity will make the moaning by local residents both longer and louder and yes we the poor citizens of Auckland will have to put up with them until we are in our graves.

Wellington has a 30,000 plus seat stadium and they have about 400,000 people. Fleshing that out Auckland should have a stadium of aroundabout 100,000 so 60,000 is small fry. Dunedin is seriously looking like it will go for a stadium with a roof and they have a popn of 100,000. Christchurch has a stadium plenty big enough for them, as does Waikato and most smaller centres in NZ have perfectly adequate, well placed venues. Why the hell can't Auckland get one that is bang in the middle of the fucker and that will promise an awesome experience for all who visit it with minimal hassle for anybody living anywhere near it?

People complain that it will be a white elephant.


It will be guaranteed to be soldout at least once a year and will be fairly full several other times with Blues games being a good chance of filling it to the 30-40,000 mark and for semis and finals they may even get close to filling it completely.

But who cares if it only gets sold out once a year? The Sydney Olympic stadium sells out for the NRL grand final and then it gets soldout for the odd rugby test and SOO game or close to it. The rest of the year it is mostly empty.

People complain that it won't be built in time for the World Cup.

Well quite frankly I couldn't give a stuff about that either. Let Aussie host the final. We will have a stadium to last us a hundred years and promise a great night out for tens of millions of people over that same period. I say start building the waterfront stadium and if it looks like it isn't going to be built in time begin building a temporary seating arrangement at Eden Park to bump it up to 60,000 and then bulldoze the whole place moments after the final whistle. Or shortly before it if it looks like NZ isn't going to win.

Eden Park could be developed as a test cricket venue. Bowl all the main ground stands and expand number two field to include some of number one. Realign that pitch at right angles to the current one on the outer oval and landscape the area with embankments and trees. The whole project could be funded by selling off strips of land along the street out the back of the terraces. It could also remain the home of Auckland cricket and Auckland club rugby. It would be run on a shoestring and as it would only need to cater to 10,000 or so there would be very few problems re crowd noise, lights, shadows, urinating in backyards, transport, parking etc.

People also complain that Auckland has too many venues. Well I've been over this here before. Auckland does not have too many stadiums. Auckland may be one big joined up urban mass but when it comes to sport it is split in sporting terms into 3 regions. Auckland, North Harbour and Counties/Manukau all play sport in the Auckland region and if you think that Auckland NPC, Counties NPC, N Harbour NPC, Harbour League, Counties Manukau Jetz, Warriors, Knights, along with Auckland cricket, Black Caps, All Blacks, Kiwis, and the respective club rugby competitions plus Big Day Out and concerts from N Harbour Stadium plus other events hosted by these venues would all be nicely catered for in one or two stadiums I say that you are dumb and should go dig a hole in the backyard, climb in and pay your neighbour to fill it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Auckland City ... still erect after The Great Tempest of 07 

Well, for better or worse the Sky Tower didn't disappear into a twister and get taken away to a mystical land, but the trees in Albert Park suffered a terrible beating.

My favourite: quite artistic me thinks.

Finally, an artist's impression of what it might have looked like immediately before the Sky Tower was forever lost into the vortex (file under: too bad, better luck next time).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another reason why democracy in the Americas is a bad joke 

Nicaraguan elections are taking place right now. A former Sandinista leader is doing well, but the neo conservative party is holding strong in some areas. The United States, specifically the Whitehouse and the State Department, strongly advised Nicaraguans to not vote in the Sandinista supporter, so that the country would not have to face the consequences of voting in a leader of a “terrorist organization.”

The U.S. congressional elections are taking place right now. Democrats are doing well, but republicans are still holding strong in many states. Nicaragua, as with the rest of Latin America, have yet to say anything to norteamericanos to not vote in Republicans, so that the country would not have to face the consequences of voting in a party that has routinely terrorized the poor and downtrodden south of the Rio Grande.

From the point of view of the Whitehouse, the Sandinistas are terrorists because they built schools, hospitals and community-based farms in the sweet waist of the Americas. Bush et al. don’t loose a minute of sleep over the fact that Ronald Raygun, Mr. Fucking, Dementia in my head and “The Bomb” on my fingertips, blew up the schools, and funded guerrillas with state of the art of weaponry to kill the doctors and raze the farms that were benefiting the poor.

But from the point of view of Nicaraguans, (poor ones, not the ones drinking gin fizz in the forward cabin of American Airlines) republicans support of, and never coming apology for, supporting the contra forces is still a deep, deep scar. The extended history of how Ronald McReaganism confused bare-foot, horse-back riding school builders with agents of Moscow is another story. It would also take a bit of time to bring up a case by case chronology of violence in Central America that would completely redefine the popular notion of “a terrorist.”

But here’s the one point that I would like to make, for now: Washington “encourages” other countries to vote a certain way, and yet, within in its own borders, they are beyond any real capacity to “encourage” more than 40% of their own citizens to vote. It’s a tiny minority that governs the world, and a tiny tiny percent of humanity that puts them there. Yet, we’re all expected to obey the policies and abide to the fear. Another example as to why democracy is a very bad, joke.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A short series of wry observations 

1/ Anyone who thinks a waterfront stadium ("Stadium Aotearoa, ouwww") can be built in five years in this country obviously hasn't seen the glacial pace of construction on Spaghetti Junction. The official website states that construction began in '03 and will finish this year, but I swear I can recall serious road works beginning there in '99, and from the looks of things I can't seem them wrapping the project up in the seven weeks that remain in this calendar year. On another note, I'm still not entirely sure why we can't expect the successful commercial enterprise that is rugby union to pay more towards any stadium. And if we're going to all this effort, is there any chance we can cover the damn thing and thus prevent fog-bowls, mud-bowls and general wash-outs? Personally I'd love to move cricket under a roof ... not because I want to cancel out interesting climatic variables, but because I'm sick of losing so much time to rain!

2/ Only one million New Zealanders live in "poor conditions"? Ms_Red and I can recall the day we finally felt warm in our house for the first time ... because it was last Saturday. We moved in mid-June, and have felt cold-to-freezing ever since. This is in spite of my installing some serious insulation in the ceiling (on top of, and at right-angles to, the original 1970s batts), and despite our fire place being used to provide heat to the 1/4 of the house which we make most use of. The floors remain cold in the mornings even now however, and a summer job for me will be to install foil underneath the floorboards. The point of this sad story is that we live in a "normal" house in "warm" Auckland ... so where are there 3 million New Zealanders who don't live in poor conditions residing? Me thinks Mssrs Williams and McAuley (authors of said report) are erring on the side of generosity.

3/ Best line on Outrageous Fortune last night: "I don't want to spend the rest of my life in the Waikato!!" Touche!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Night Rugby, bangers, and dorks in the back room 

We have to put up with these matches at night we are told because they increase TV ratings, larger market, better time for Europeans etc etc yada yada.

But low and behold the test match versus England this weekend is being played at 4:30am Monday morning NZ time.

So effectively that eliminates the fans of one of the teams from watching live. It also eliminates all of the Australian market and on top of that it eliminates the Japanese market and all of Asia. And yes Asia do get all of the All Black tests live through Star Sports (they even have their own commentary in both Japan and China that I know of). The average Jozumi isn't going to be sitting up to watch the game at 1:30am on a Monday morning in Tokyo, you can bet your bottom dollar.

So basically the game has been especially put on for the European market without the faintest thought for anybody else.

Fuck night rugby in NZ. Make the Poms get up at 2:30am for once. Even better play our games on Monday afternoons and make them get up at 2:30am, 4 hours before the have to get up for work.

And on banning fireworks sales to the public. I have a compromise. Limit sales to 48 hours before Guy Fawkes day. So for example they would have gone on sale at midnight Thursday.

There will still be damage and mayhem but there will definately be less sold and it won't be panic spread over a week+, more like 3 or 4 days.

Might be worth a look at for a year or two to see how it goes.

At the moment you have kids buying them the week before, going bananas and blowing things up then making extra trips during the week to stock up before a last ditch buy up. If you have a short sale period people won't have the opportunity (they really aren't that organised) to buy anymore. The shop window of opportunity has closed.

And contrary to TV One's magnificent sports news tonight for shonky reporting, the Aussies LOST to the West Indies at the start of the tournament, not the other way round and how the hell did they work out that Great Britain need to lose their last two matches by a combined 21 points? If the Kiwis beat them by 14 (we will have a -3 differential and so will they) or more this weekend then their loss to Aussie could be by 1 point or 300 points, it will make no difference, they will be gone. Sometimes you have to wonder how many people they have putting this shit together and how long they have to think about it (ie. 30 seconds).

Saturday, November 04, 2006


This photo comes with instructions.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

That kiwifruit business 

We all know the story:
The report, by former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern and commissioned by the British Government, cited the kiwifruit trade as a contributor to environmental damage.

It estimated that flying 1kg of kiwifruit from New Zealand to Europe causes 5kg of carbon to be discharged into the atmosphere.

Err, no. As far as I can tell, from downloading all 6 parts of the Stern Report, it makes no mention of kiwifruit at all. A search for "kiwifruit" yielded nothing, and even a search for just "fruit" yielded bugger all, excepting a reference on p266 in Part III.

As far as I can ascertain, the whole kiwifruit business was started by the the Observer , which was the source for my original comment below.

Not to say of course that the Prime Minister and various Cabinet luminaries were wrong to leap the defence of our "super efficient agricultural sector"(TM) . Y'know, the same one that dumps shit into practically every waterway in the country.

Long story short, the infamous "5kg of C02 for 1 kg of air-freighted kiwifruit" doesn't appear to be in the Stern Report at all. Feel free to correct me if I missed it.

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