Group to take on Len Brown’s taniwha

A group calling themselves Democracy Action has got into gear to take on Len Brown’s requirements for you to go and get a certificate that no Taniwha exist before you make minor alternations to your house (the PC term is “Cultural Impact Assessment”).

Sir Bob Jones wrote about his experience with Cultural Impact Assessments a few weeks back:
Recently, a shop tenancy changed in a modern 17-storey Auckland CBD office building owned by my company. The previous tenant had blocked off some of its window which we now intended putting back to the conventional shop front.

At this stage, sit down with a stiff drink and accept my assurance I’m not making this up.

For we were then informed by a planner my Auckland office uses for council dealings (which can be laborious) that under the new council rules, changes to a building’s appearance require resource consent and we would be subject to penalty if we simply put back the window.

If that’s not outrageously absurd enough, things then became truly Kafkaesque and illustrate why the Government, against ill-considered opposition parties’ objections, wishes to tone down the Resource Management Act.

For we were then told that under the new Draft Unitary Plan, not yet enacted, our building being within 50 metres of a designated Maori heritage site, we needed RMA approval (for a new shop window, for God’s sake), this instantly forthcoming at a cost of $4500 plus the approval of 13 iwi.

The council refused to advise the addresses of these iwi outfits, yet added that without their consent, we can’t put back the window.

According to the DA website: Read more »

What a tangled web we weave

I can’t help but want to really, really see the video of the birth of this happy little baby

A white lesbian mother is suing a Chicago sperm bank after she claims she was mistakenly sent a black man’s sperm and gave birth to a mixed-race daughter.

Jennifer Cramblett, 36, claims the mistake has caused her stress and anguish because her family is racist and she lives in a small, all-white Uniontown in northeast Ohio.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Cook County, Illinois, Ms Cramblett says Midwest Sperm Bank sent her several vials of a black man’s sperm by mistake because the clinic keeps paper records and accidentally transposed numbers on her order.

The couple had specifically chosen a white donor to be the father of their child.

It’s nice enough that nobody has suggested that Jennifer stepped out on her lesbian lover and had a roll in the hay with a local black man.   However… an IVF clinic that keeps paper records might just be a warning signal by itself?   Read more »

Yesterday’s papers

Newspapers continue to decline.

Who wants yesterday’s papers?, the Rolling Stones asked in 1967, and the question is still valid.

It seems the answer is “nobody in the world”.

Clay Shirky writes about the ongoing demise.

Journalists have been infantilized throughout the last decade, kept in a state of relative ignorance about the firms that employ them. A friend tells a story of reporters being asked the paid print circulation of their own publication. Their guesses ranged from 150,000 to 300,000; the actual figure was 35,000. If a reporter was that uninformed about a business he was covering, he’d be taken off the story.

This cluelessness is not by accident; the people who understand the state of the business often hide that knowledge from the workers. My friend Jay Rosen writes about the media’s “production of innocence” — when covering a contentious issue, they must signal to the readers “We have no idea who’s right.” Among the small pool of journalists reporting on their own industry, there is a related task, the production of ignorance. When the press writes about the current dislocations, they must insist that no one knows what will happen. This pattern shows up whenever the media covers itself. When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Timesran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.”

The future of print remains what? Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.

Meanwhile, back in the treasurer’s office, have a look at this chart. Do you see anything unclear about the trend line?

adrevenue

Contrary to the contrived ignorance of media reporters, the future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away, in this decade. (If you work at a paper and you don’t know what’s happened to your own circulation or revenue in the last few years, now might be a good time to ask.) We’re late enough in the process that we can even predict the likely circumstance of its demise.

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Bob Jones has the solution for cheaper houses

Bob Jones has a brilliant solution for solving housing affordability and the supposed housing crisis.

I have a solution which may induce initial antagonism, but viewed calmly, it’s perfectly logical. National’s policy of providing more cash for first-home buyers is certainly not addressing Auckland’s problem. Instead it will heighten it by increasing demand, although outside of Christchurch it will have merit in assisting first-home seekers.

Recently, we legislated that our worker standards must apply to foreign trawlers fishing our waters. On face value that appeared virtuous. In fact, it’s utterly hypocritical.

Our living standards rely on incredibly cheap goods from Asia. They’re cheap thanks to low labour costs, as on the foreign fishing boats. So to be consistent, why not impose the same fishing boat rules to imported goods? There are two answers.

First, in terms of moral inconsistency, it’s analogous to the abortion debate. What can’t be seen, namely Chinese factories and unborn babies, conveniently doesn’t count.

The second excellent reason is that free trade is unquestionably mutually beneficial, and as with Japan and increasingly Korea, in a few years, fast-rising Chinese living standards will see this low labour cost manufacturing continue its westward move to Southeast Asia, then the Indian sub-continent, and if robots haven’t by then killed off menial jobs as inevitably they will, then on to Africa. Everyone’s a winner.

Actually, minimum standards are imposed by America, albeit not the same as Western equivalents. A few years ago I met a young American woman in Bolivia who was taking a break from her job as an inspector overseeing Caribbean factory and labour standards.

If they weren’t up to scratch she could block their exports to the US. Her concerns were wages and working conditions. America has similar inspectors in Asia following a public clamour after revelation of some Chinese factories’ then appalling standards.

So accepting that low Asian labour costs are mutually beneficial, the answer to attaining a mass supply of housing in one fell swoop, is to emulate Dubai and, as a one-off exercise, import an army of cheap sub-continent labour. Dubains reject manual work, aside from which they’re too small in population to achieve what they have without outside help.

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Mental Health Break

If filming up womens’ skirts isn’t being deviant, what is?

This gets my back up

A man who filmed up a woman’s dress in a Wellington department store has been discharged without conviction because a judge considered the offending was “towards the lower end” of the scale.

Alessandro Doria, 46, made eight other recordings on his phone on May 30 of the legs and lower torsos of women on the streets, Wellington District Court was told yesterday.

But Judge Bruce Davidson deemed that only the recording of a woman in Farmers on Lambton Quay could amount to an intimate visual recording.

And all that could be seen in that recording was a very brief view of black stockings or leggings and a dress, the judge said.

Although the offence of making an intimate visual recording of another person without permission was generally viewed quite seriously, he considered what happened in Farmers was towards the lower end of the scale.

What is it with invasion of privacy that is just so acceptable these days?   Decisions like these provide fuel to the people who like us to suffer the idea we have rape culture in New Zealand.    Read more »

Map of the Day

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Blaeu’s map of the world, 1662

Click here for a larger version

 

Pick which party is considering these policies

Let’s say a party  had these policies

– Increasing minimum wage, twice during the next term

– Income tax free threshold up to $25,000

– People on minimum wage pay no income tax at all

– 40% tax rate at $100,000

– 100,000 new homes to be built, 20% cheaper than they are now, with foreign buyers banned

– Increase health spending in real terms, every year, until 2020

Can you guess?

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An anti-Muslim backlash in New Zealand?

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NZ Muslims are terrified of an anti-Muslim backlash if New Zealand sends the SAS to deal with ISIS, but perhaps not the way you think.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Wellington’s Kilbirnie mosque’s Secretary of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, Tahir Nawaz, says supporting the fight in Iraq would be a bad idea.

“We are a very good community here, we are very co-operative,” Mr Nawaz said.

“Once New Zealand troops are sent there, our public attitude could change. At the end of the day there would be people living here whose roots are in the countries where New Zealand would send the troops.”

That reads as much as a warning as it does a threat.   A promise?  Or just the reality of allowing Muslim immigrants to settle here.

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Photo Of The Day

Coco Chanel: 1883-1971; The French fashion designer Coco Chanel ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes - such as petticoats and corsets - that were prevalent in 19th century dress. Among her now-classic innovations were the Chanel suit, costume jewelry, and the little black dress.

Coco Chanel: 1883-1971; The French fashion designer Coco Chanel ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes – such as petticoats and corsets – that were prevalent in 19th century dress. Among her now-classic innovations were the Chanel suit, costume jewelry, and the little black dress.

Coco Chanel

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