Category Archives: Politics

Thought for the Day

On the day when that vicious Muammar Gaddafi got his just deserts from the Libyan people who were actually oppressed and who had real cause to protest and rise up – and did with the moral and real support of Nato I came across this quote by Karl Popper, which seemed to fit since there are also more ridiculous protests worldwide – on the news tonight in Melbourne, having started in Wall Street, and with a branch here in Auckland also – against corporations. I mean really, if you don’t like them don’t buy their stuff. And if you object to their influence in politics and the bailouts then you should have voted for more libertarian candidates who understand Austrian economics and not that Keynesian bollocks.

Democracies have serious drawbacks. They certainly are not better than they ought to be. But corruption can occur under any kind of government. And I think that every serious student of history will agree, upon consideration, that our Western democracies are not only the most prosperous societies in history-that is important, but not so very important-but the freest, the most tolerant, and the least repressive large societies of which we have historical knowledge…One must fight those who make so many young people unhappy by telling them that we live in a terrible world, in a kind of capitalist hell. The truth is that we live in a wonderful world, in a beautiful world, and in an astonishingly free and open society. Of course it is fashionable, it is expected, and it is almost demanded from a Western intellectual to say the opposite.

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An Increase is Not a Saving

Rodney Hide on the benefits of his “Super City” before the merger.

There will clearly be substantial savings in the years ahead from the slimmed-down council.

This is what actually happened – Mayor Len Brown in the Draft Annual Plan Summary.

And after the amalgamation that would have seen a 9.4 per cent rate increase, we are working to identify efficiencies to bring that down to 4.9 per cent

Rodney, however, still kept singing the same tune.

By removing the duplication of functions across the previous eight councils, the unified council structure means ratepayers will enjoy a massive $65.5 million saving from a 13% drop in staffing levels – this will increase to 16% , or a $91 million annual saving, by the end of the transition period in July 2012 … Aucklanders can expect a rates increase 2.1% lower than the 6.1% average increase projected by the old councils.

If you went to a car yard and saw a car at $30,000, and then went back a month later and saw the same car (a pedant might say a larger, less responsive car) now labelled with “Massive $5,000 saving – only $35,000 for this car!” you would think the salesman fucked in the head if the excuse he came up with was that “you’re saving $5,000 because we could have increased the price to $40,000”.

If Auckland ratepayers suffered by having too many council staff, then wouldn’t your first thought be “what are all those staff doing, and do they need to be or doing it?”, especially if you are the leader of a party whose stated goal with local government is to Abolish the local government power of general competency, wouldn’t you think? Coming up with the solution “Let’s make a council bigger than the Moon, that still does the same stuff poorly – Part of the “$60 million investing in IT to run the new council and its support structures” certainly didn’t include replacing the random number generator that councils used to work out Resource Consent and Development Contribution charges – and increases rates higher than the rate of inflation” would be a fucked in the head solution.

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Photo of the Year

Bibi Aisha

World Press Photo – if you can’t guess, an organization for photojournalists – has just held their awards for the best photo for 2010. The winning photo by South African Jodi Bieber is above. According to the commentary on the World Press Photo website the poor girl in the photo is Bibi Aisha formerly (thankfully) from Kabul.

Her winning picture shows Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, who fled back to her family home from her husband’s house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi’s brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the American military. After time in a women’s refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the US.

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