Bloggreen: May 2005

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

UK corporates want environment guidance

WorldChanging has this extremely interesting story. So the heads of the 12 biggest companies in the United Kingdom can figure out that climate change is a) not bullshit b) something worth worrying about and c) something definitely worth planning around and they're calling on the Government to do something about it! I wonder if the UK Greens have picked their jaws off the ground yet? This is the best quote, thier biggest concern is how they:

“as business leaders can help bridge the gap between today’s economy and the radically different low-carbon future that will be needed”
Now can you imagine our top 5, let alone top 12 corporates coming out with anything like that? No instead all we get is "carbon tax is bad for growth". We like to think we're a radical nation but sometimes we're miles off the pace.

Fun in China

After the fun of last week and Rod being quoted as saying

"The Chinese Government needs to understand that they are in New Zealand, not Tiananmen Square," Mr Donald said. "We're a democracy, not a police state."
Guyon Espiner has gone out of his way to prove Rod's point about the Police State in China and has been having a bit of trouble in Tiananmen Square.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Real Cost

The Independent in the UK has a really good article about the real cost of air travel. It's a good article and has real implications for life here. Air travel is becoming ridiculously cheap, more often than not cheaper than train, bus etc.

Like art?

And live in Auckland? Put the Great Art Auction in your diary. It's a repeat of an event held in Christchurch and has a fantastic artist lineup. If I was in Auckland I'd be going. The site is being updated with more artists and the actual work will be up there soon apparently. Good way to support the Green 2005 election campaign too :o)

It's back is live again for the election. Good for those of us that like to vote on things slightly more useful than what they look like or how nice their mother is...

Greens win!

The Norfolk City Council just had a bi-election and the Greens took it out in a surprise win. Congratulations Christopher!

New blog

Your Packaging Sucks

Just cause...

Televangelist You are 14% Rational, 85% Extroverted, 14% Brutal, and 71% Arrogant. As the Lord as my witness, I swear upon the good book that you are indeed the TELEVANGELIST! Characterized by extreme arrogance, self-assurance, and extroversion, you would make a very charismatic leader (or a very despotic one). On top of that, you are also more intuitive than rational, predisposing you to a more spiritual or emotional outlook on life. Thus, you are thoroughly irrational. You also tend to be rather gentle and considerate of others' feelings. Clearly, you would make the perfect televangelist. Emotional, extroverted, arrogant, and gentle, you annoy the hell out of people who have to listen to the feel-good, intuitive shit spewing from your mouth. Not only that, but people may look down on you as a self-centered asshat. So while you are gentle and genuinely care about others, it is quite clear that you still care about yourself MORE. Why is your personality flawed? Because you are too damned extroverted, emotional, and arrogant. So preach your irrational message, brotha-man! I assure you, no one will be listening! To put it less negatively: 1. You are more INTUITIVE than rational. 2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted. 3. You are more GENTLE than brutal. 4. You are more ARROGANT than humble. Compatibility: Your exact opposite is the Spiteful Loner. Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Hippie, the Starving Artist, and the Robot.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Xenophophic rantings

So today New Zealand First launched their immigration policy at the Orewa Grey Power this afternoon. An executive summary of his speech is as follows: Nationalism Patriotism Nationalism Patriotism FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR BIGOTRY FEAR FEAR They don't even speak ENGLISH!! FEAR FEAR FEAR "Now, whenever we raise this issue we get accused of being racist or xenophobic. However, we raise it for one simple reason. We actually have a choice about these demographic projections." "The first point is the need for a comprehensive population policy." "As an initial step we will set up a forensic team to protect the integrity of New Zealand citizenship. This organisation will be known as the Immigration Inspectorate." "The Inspectorate will also act as an immigration "Flying Squad" " "We will be looking for intelligence - investigative skills - determination - and yes - patriotism." "The first must be to create an "undesirables" category, to ensure those from dangerous and unethical regimes are red-flagged before they get here. " "We will also introduce DNA testing where the nature and status of family relationships is not clear or where there is suspicion of fraud. We are going to introduce fingerprinting and eye scanning - or in short use biometrics technology available abroad." "We will meet our UN obligation to refugees but we believe that our humanitarian benevolence has been massively abused by the family reunification policy." FEAR FEAR FEAR HATE HATE FEAR VOTE NEW ZEALAND FIRST :OD Now I'm sorry but that's got ot be one of the most offensive, nausea-inducing speeches I have ever heard. Winston Peters is a sick, depraved, dangerous man and his ideas are wrong. He is using EXACTLY the same arguments as Hitler. And his audience are the people who supposedly went to war to stop Hitler. I DON'T FUCKING GET IT!! GRRR RIGHT All you non-stupid people out there who don't give a fuck about elections, now is the time to pull your heads out of your bums and realise that every eligible vote that isn't cast increases the influence of the people who swallow Winston's shit up. Does that make you happy? Do you like the future direction of this nation decided by crazy redneck inbreds who will probably die soon? Ooh, that was a bit of stereotyping wasn't it? Will calm down now. Read Keith's release for a more reasoned, calm response. Hey y'all watch this seriously odd shit.

It was so seriously good!

Went and saw Star Wars last night. YAY YAY YAY!!!! It was great! Extreme robots, space ships, fight scenes, Yoda moments. Aah life is now complete... But wait! Narnia's next, yay a whole new series of films and I'm alive for the first one! But back to Star Wars, slightly concerned that I share a Star Wars personality with a somewhat well-known right wing blogger.

Aah the interwebby

Thanks to RSS feeds, I managed to get the answer to my wee dilemma about not getting the white band code to work through the White Band blog. Neat. See, look up there, ain't it pretty!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Grocery Store Wars finished!

As previously hinted at the Grocery Store wars short film is finished. Watch it, watch it now!

What the hell is Howard up to now?

OK so John Howard has just announced a whole set of changes to the Australian labour laws. I wouldn't exactly describe them as 'worker friendly' in fact 'full scale attack on workers' might be a better description. Basically, businesses with more than 100 workers will be excempt from unfair dismissal laws, changing the way the minimum wage is set, all national awards are to be reviewed, state labour laws will be evaluated and national legislation will be set in place. Unions are suitably unimpressed. As are The Greens

In case you'd forgotten

There's still a stupid ass bloody war going on in Iraq. BushFlash has a good animation about what's really going on. I recommend a watch. Or if you prefer numbers here they are in all their cold hard realitiness.

Make Poverty History

There is now a NZ version of the make Poverty history campaign. Join it. And if anyone can tell me why I couldn't for the life of me get the code for the white band to work on this site hmmm... has anyone else had problems with it?

Look here he comes!

Originally uploaded by kakariki.
And there he goes...

The other flag wavers

Originally uploaded by kakariki.
Unfortunately Mr Wu Bangguo decided to do a Yudhoyono and skipped round the back door so these people didn't get to see who they were here for.

Free Tibet protest

Originally uploaded by kakariki.
Today the Greens held a silent protest to mark the arrival at Parliament of Mr Wu Bangguo, the chair of China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Rod was on the forecourt holding a Tibetan flag in solidarity with the people of Tibet. The Chinese security tried to get the New Zealand Police to move him but they refused.

Rod's comments here

Yay for freedom of expression!

Commentary on energy policy

So Forest and Bird like it. Business NZ don't. Hardly any surprises there. What's most interesting is the silent response from the government. This can only be read as a good thing. Usually if a party puts out a policy, you get one of two responses. 1. Condemnation. This almost always follows National Party and Act policy releases and sometimes NZ First releases. There was also a rather scathing response to the Maori Party Foreshore and Seabed policy. 2. Silence (read: endorsement or fear). This follows policy announcements where the Government either can't slag it off without looking like meanies (eg good tertiary policies would be likely to fall in this camp), or where the government likes it but probably couldn't think of it themselves. I would say the Green Party Energy Policy falls into the latter category. If I was Labour (*shudder*) I would be starting to get a bit concerned about energy. It's a feckin HUGE issue and none of them have got the knowledge to deal with it. It's just never been high on the agenda. There is only one person in Parliament with a solid knowledge of these issues and that's Jeanette. What Jeanette doesn't know about energy policy probably isn't worth knowing. Yesterday was a prime example. Usually in a press conference, an MP goes on for about 10 minutes about the *big thing* and then opens it up to questions. Not yesterday. The journalists there were served an hour long lecture on the issues, powerpoint demo included and actually walked away with a deeper understanding of the issues. The media worked out a while ago how Jeanette is in these areas. And so have Labour. At the beginning of this year when the cabinet shuffle was announced, there was a whole article in the business section dedicated to analysing what Mallard's appointment to the energy portfolio meant in relation to Jeanette (basically he's a seat warmer until after the election...). As much as Helen appears to loathe Jeanette, I think she realises that if the election results meant having to have a Labour Green coalition and giving the Greens a cabinet portfolio, Energy would be the one to give. Certainly more preferable than giving Trade to Rod!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Green Party Energy Policy launch

Green Party Energy Policy launch Originally uploaded by kakariki.
I went to the launch of the Green Party energy launch today. You can read a summary of it here. Got some damn smart stuff in it, especially the commitment to developing the solar industry with a view towards half a million solar panels for homes across Aotearoa. frogblog was obviously there too, and has a brief analysis of the media response, which we wont see until 6pm and tomorrow morning of course. Good to see an election policy launch that thinks beyond the next 12 months, let alone the next election cycle. Good stuff. Here's a photo of Jeanette gettin down wit' energy efficiency!

IT moment

The Denizen has a good analysis on the Telecon hack. If you don't understand who the bad guys are in this situation, read it. If you still don't get it, maybe try reading the entire back catalogue of 2600 As an aside, the latest issue is pretty good, I now know more than I ever needed to know about magnetic strip readers... And the finalysts have been anounced for the Computerworld Excellence Awards 2005. Interesting lineup, I know about a number of the finalists and there are some stonking projects up for awards. Good to see that we have some creative people out there, yay for them! Now how to get an invite to the awards... Oh and note to IT spokespeople for political parties. There is a technological invention called EMAIL. If you READ IT you may find out some INTERESTING THINGS. You may also like to encourage your SECRETARIES to learn this VALUABLE SKILL. Thanks

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New wrench

#10 Weapons of Mass Destruction

Facts for you

From the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report 'Creating Our Future - Sustainable Development for New Zealand' (2002) Between 1981 and 2001, New Zealand's population grew by 19%, GDP rose by 55%, energy use by 61%, car ownership by 67%, and the amount we throw away by a massive 131%. Tell me how long you think we can keep this up?

Protest Bush

Got this in the email today, tell your friends... Wed 1 June 2005 Biggest world protest against Bush Be part of a coordinated effort to remove Bush. Hit the media and politicians hard. Try it ! This will be the world’s biggest protest against Bush. All of us will speak with ‘ONE VERY LOUD VOICE’ via millions of emails to all American media news desks and politicians on Wed 1 June 2005. I’ve already contacted hundreds of activist organisations across the world but need your help NOW !!! 1. Email everyone you know asking them to email everyone they know (blind copy them if you like and aim for local and overseas people). 2. Your email tells everyone to contact media and politicians on Wed 1 June 2005 requesting that Bush (a) Face charges of war crimes, (b) Be thoroughly investigated for conflict of interest and abuse of position with personal financial interests in Middle East pipelines and military equipment manufacturers. 3. For Wed 1 June 2005, email addresses of hundreds of American media news desks and politicians are listed at Media News Desks or Rumor Mill News 4. Write the date on your calendar ! 5. You can also sign an on-line petition to impeach George Bush at Vote To Impeach or Nader's impeach petition You have support: In a poll of 22,000 people across 21 countries, 58% expected Bush to have a negative impact on peace and security, only 26% considered him a positive force, and dislike of Bush is translating into dislike of Americans in general.

Yay for rich white chicks!

So this year is the 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Woman. This time 30 years ago women from all over New Zealand converged on Wellington for the national Women's Convention. So this year another convention is being held to celebrate and evaluate the gains made for women since then and look at what needs women in New Zealand have in a contemporary context and where we need to go from here. Sounds like all good stuff. But. The conference is a pretty elitist affair. For a start the registration fee is $200, sure there is a fund to help low income women attend but what kind of message is this giving to women? I have spoken to a number of feminist activists who can't go because of the money. And these are amazing young hardworking activists. The sorts of women I would expect to see at the front of this conference. Then there's the programme itself. This seems to be a big series of 'big-skirts' telling the conference what the issues are and what they've done to fix them. Don't get me wrong, this is important, but not I believe, what the focus should be. I was really dissapointed to see that there is a young women's caucus, but it clashes with the only other special workshop sessions scheduled for the conference. And those workshops cover the areas where most young women activists I know are actually working ie environmental activism and non-violence/peace activism. *sigh* I'm not going to be in Wellington that weekend, but if I was I think I'd rather be protesting outside.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Save the whales!

It was out of it last week, I was out on the street helping with the Trans-Tasman Green campaign to lobby the Japanese to pull their heads in over their push to increase their 'scientific' whaling take. And all these people told me that 'Save The Whales' was such an old slogan and we should find a new one. Excuse me? THE WHALES STILL NEED SAVING! THEY'RE STILL HANGING OUT ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST, DUH! So I asked some of these people if they would prefer 'stop the barbaric large-scale, mass, butchering of large marine mammals' and while some of them agreed that it didn't quite have the same ring to it, most looked blank. *sigh* Anyway, for those of you who care, the NZ and Australian Greens launched a lobbying campaign last week. You too can join in by writing to the Japanese Ambassador. More information here.

New thing

Decided to put up a *new feature* to this blog. Down the right hand side there you will see a new photo strip. This is stuff I've seen recently that I like, protests I've been to etc. Just to bring more life to the place. Starting with some of my favourite non-photo type thingys.

Did I miss something?

What happened to that Tuatara-Left blog?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Still recovering

OK so on Friday night I went to the Green Room 004: Hope CD release party at Indigo. It was amazing! The presales sold out the morning before so there were people lining up outside the venue an hour before the doors opened. And once the door sales went there was still a line of 50 or so people waiting outside for ages trying to get in. I heard at least one person who turned up with a ticket managed to sell it to someone in line for $50. That's ridiculous! But so worth it. The gig was magical. I have not felt so many warm fuzzys in ages. And the gig was tremendous. Holy wowed us all with her amazing vocal range and soul. Kora rocked I thought the speaker stand I was leaning against would fall over. They started with Burning, their track off the album and they couldn't have planned that any better, the crowd response was awesome. The highlight was of course their performance of Politician, and they made it pretty clear to the audience that politicians weren't the only target of their message "are you going to make the right decision?". But the biggest highlight of the night for me was seeing Dallas from Trinity Roots, Kora and Hollie having a big jam together. Everyone in the audience knew they were witnessing something pretty damn special and probably something never to be seen again. Big ups to all the people who made the night possible. La la la, I'm going to be floating on this one for at least two weeks...

Budget as

So Thursday was one of those exciting days for political geeks like myself. Yes folks, Budget Day. So what was in it? um yawn Oh shit, sorry I'm awake now. So the big story was the announcement of a new work based savings scheme for retirement and for first home buyers. This is in recognition that we're REALLY CRAP at saving. And why would that be one wonders? Well, for my generation it's cause we can't afford it, we're too busy paying off debt. I got my student loan statement the other day and it told me that in the last 12 months I had payed off $1600 and then given $600 back in interest. Now I know that I'm really lucky that I have an income high enough to make any kind of payment off my loan. I currently earn about 15k more a year than the average childless woman with my qualification. But it isn't going to last and I doubt I'd get a job paying that high doing the sort of thing I'm good at without leaving the country. The point is though, I don't want to leave the country. I want to do work that contributes towards making this world a better place. I want to do work that helps develop a sustainable peaceful Aotearoa. I want to do work that means I can work within a community. Trouble is, in this crap capitalist society in which we live, I aint going to become a millionaire doing this stuff. In fact, I'd be lucky if I got paid at all. I think it's about time the government expanded the PACE scheme concept for community activists. I know a number of people who are activists on the dole who get hassled mercilessly because they work to create positive communities. And I know a number of people who were fantastic full-time activists who have had to resort to menial work to pay the bills. Creative, brilliant, skilled, talented people working in crap jobs because our society values PR retards more than creative souls. So what has the Government done for me in this budget? (cause it's all about me) Set in place a first home purchasing assistance scheme that I can access in 12 years time, wicked. I'm sure I would've saved a bit by then. But the problem is I have all this debt to pay off, money I have had to borrow to invest in getting myself 'somewhere' (sorry, still not sure where that is). So I got this cute little thing called a 'debt mentality'; the idea that if I want to invest in anything I need to do this from a negative starting point. This is remarkably similar to the mentality that is fostered within 'developing nations' by the World Bank and co (featuring none other than our former Min of Finance) that if you want to get going in this new fangled sparkly globalised world you have to get in debt. Considering that there is $203.6B in outstanding global debt in this world, it's great to know that our government is fostering a positive attitude to debt amongst our upcoming generations. Think I should stop now.

Yay the Brazilian Greens

So Brazil just had the second highest year of rainforest deforestation so the Green Party representatives resigned in disgust. Repra-fuckin-zent

Friday, May 20, 2005

bloody hell and yay

Sorry budget analysis on its way when this week is over... But I just heard that the Canadian Prime Minister has survived a non-confidence vote by one vote. How's that for "whew!" And Bougainville is just starting it's two week first autonomous election. Good luck to them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I want to see it now!


Everyone should be aware of the clever kid in Auckland who exposed the insecurity of the Telecom mobile voicemail system last week. Well, this kid and a friend (I assume) have been charged. NZ Police press release:

Alleged Hackers Face Charges Press Release by New Zealand Police 18 May 2005 A 16 year-old Auckland youth and a 19 year-old Hamilton man were arrested this morning and will appear in the Auckland Youth and Hamilton District Courts respectively this afternoon, to face a charge of unauthorised access of a computer. The arrests follow a short but intensive investigation into the alleged "hacking" of some mobile phone voice mailboxes.
This is bullshit. These kids should be given jobs not charges. I would be very interested to find out what charges they will be facing. Will update as I hear more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Things I like

Let's have a wee positve moment (especially after this mornings diatribe!). I'm going to say stuff I like. 1. Student Protests Especially when there's heaps of them even though it's kind of raining. And they're shouting heaps and the Minister has to revert to name calling to combat their refusla to believe his bullshit. 2. Making the Minister look like a meanie 3. Discovering trailers for seriously cool looking weird South Korean movies. 4. Looking forward to Friday. Oh yeah, have you got your Green Room launch party ticket yet? It's going to be SOOOOO good. Mmmm Kora

E tu Kuwaiti wahine!

The women of Kuwait have just won the right to vote and stand in elections. Despite fierce opposition naturally. Good to hear. Big ups to all the choice chicks that would have worked unbelievably hard and copped tons of crap for making this happen. Chur!

Do I have stupid tattooed across my forehead?

OK so last night I saw the most offensive ad on television that I have ever seen. Naturally, it was an ad for 'feminine hygiene' products or as I prefer to call them as 'infiltrative poisonous capitalism swabs'. This ad featured some hot spunky south american chicks and some dodgy looking south american 'baddie' and they're all looking at each other conspiratorially, one chick gets patted down for some reason then next thing there's supposed 'good guys' all around and they're pushed into a courtyard and surrounded. All the 'bad guy's' look around at the chick who promptly lifts her shirt to reveal a pad stuck to her stomach and underneath? You guessed it, a microphone. OK SO WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT THAT PRODUCT DOES WHAT I WOULD WANT IT TO DO? I remember when I was young there was ads on television which we all joked about. They featured a woman demonstrating how good company x's product was. She would pour blue liquid on pads and we would all watch as the pad dutifully sucked up the liquid. I remember one evening seeing a stand-up comedian on the news mocking these ads mercilessly because they were so patronising towards women. The key line of her derision was of cause the commonly known fact that blood is indeed red, not blue. So what the hell has happened in the last decade or two that has got this form of advertising to such a pathetically bad level? Even if I actually regularly used these mainstream bleach poison products I would be offended by these ads? Surely? Am I a freak? Are there any other women out there as unimpressed with these ads as me? Ah fuck it, where's my sponge.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Columbia, the United States and the war on inanimate objects

The Herald is reporting a story about the collapse of the war on drugs in Columbia. Well duh, anyone who has spent 10 minutes learning about the corrupt situation in Columbia would know that there are some serious issues that need dealing with between the government and the drug cartels before any 'war on drugs' is going to make any kind of difference. What concerned me about this story though was the discussion around spraying. What the hell are they spraying with? There are a number of reports around in relation to this spraying. ENN has a Reuters story with the Organization of American States denying any negative impact on human health, pfft, whatever. Common Dreams has a story about the actual contents of the spray:

The aerial spray mixture contains three components: water, an EPA registered formulation of the herbicide glyphosate, and Cosmo-Flux 411F, a surfactant produced in Colombia that helps the herbicide to penetrate the waxy surface of the coca leaves. Glyphosate is manufactured by the U.S. based Monsanto Corporation and is commonly referred to by the trade name Roundup. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning that any plant exposed to a sufficient amount of the chemical will be killed.
So surprise, surprise Monsanto is the sponsor of this fine project. Jeremy Bigwood has a very good piece picking apart the relationships. I recommend a read. It is ridiculous that the US Govt is sponsoring this mass-poisoning of the people, their food, water and soil. It makes me sick.

Now this is cool!!!!

New image news blog with a major difference. Check out 10x10 an RSS fed image news service. This is seriously cool. Look now!!!! NOW!!!!

New blog

Tuatara Left is a new lefty blog. Not much there yet so can't say if I recommend it ;o) Good to see a new one given how many people are dropping off at the moment.

Saying it like it is

Damien, my dearest ranting friend has decided to take on the whole universe. Brilliant use of font size my dear!

Picking snot

NRT discussed the season for seasonal workers issues. I agree wholeheartedly about the issues in regards to pay. But it's not just pay, there are some extreme renegade employers out there. I had a friend working on an orchard in Motueka a few years ago and the supervisor drove around the orchard on a quad bike, barely clothed, making completely innapropriate comments to female workers and was armed. Sure, there are employment laws that cover these things but there isn't exactly a strong union movement amongst seasonal workers and trying to actually stop this kind of behaviour is exceptionally difficult. But I have also seen the problems of pay. I had a flatmate who was here on a working visa. He was a qualified horticulturalist and worked in a nursery. His application for residency was denied on the grounds that there are plenty of people who could do his job. Sure, but because the pay was so low, noone would. My friend was the first person this particular nursery managed to employ in six months, even though his employer advertised weekly in an area with high unemployment. Go figure.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cute sites

If the Destiny Party had their way, is this the stuff we could expect to see in schools? Firstly for girls Iron Hymen and for boys Sex is for Fags. I think not, don't know if they get satire, irony, or sarcasm. I want an abstinence badge.

Milestone alert

I remember being excited when my stat counter hit 1000. Well, it just hit 5000! Hoorar! Thanks for reading people, and thanks for all the feedback, both through the comments and via email. I feel the aroha! xxooxx

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Drinking *hiccup*

Hmm That cheeky Robson got his Bill pulled out to raise the drinking age back up. It might make first reading tonight but depends on how quick they go through the order paper. From the Bill:

This bill amends the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 to raise the drinking age to 20 years, strengthen the provisions relating to the supply of liquor to minors, and provide a statutory restriction on broadcast liquor advertising before 10pm on any day, as well as extend the current jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority to include the broadcast liquor advertising issues that are currently dealt with by the Advertising Standards Authority, a self-regulating industry body.
Little problem in that we don't legally have a drinking age in this country. It is a purchasing age. So if this goes any further it will either have to be changed to fit with the Sale of Liquor Act or there will be a radical re-think in the way we deal with drug laws. The explanatory note does go on about the rising figures of alcohol abuse amongst young people but doesn't mention whether those figures are unusal in relation to the wider drinking stats, we just assume they are. There is of course, not mention of the fact that when the drinking age was lowered it was done so on condition that a whole lot of stuff happened. Eg enforcing it for a start, and a decent amount of resources get put into addressing the drinking culture. So what happened? I was about 20 (if I remember right, drunk a fair bit since then) when the law changed. And I went from legally being able to purchase alcohol to not being able to. Why? Cause I didn't have legal ID. They created this stupid bloody system. The only ID acceptable was a passport (which I didn't have), or a drivers licence (cars are EVIL!) or a HANZ card (EVIL EVIL!!). Now I had a valid university student ID. It was made out of plastic and my photo was printed on to it and it had my date of birth on it. To obtain this piece of card I had to prove to a number of institutions that a) I existed and b) I wasn't fibbing about any aspect of my identity. I also had to fork out a few thousand dollars but that's another story.... But I couldn't use this student ID card cause it wasn't 'official'. But I could pay HANZ (an organisation I DON"T LIKE AT ALL) money to get one of thier cards. But then it was so bloody easy to rip that system off that heaps of people I knew under 18 had these cards. So I boycotted that. Instead I developed a lovely relationship with my local wine cellar so I didn't need ID. It was a double bonus. No interferrence with my identity and I got to make friends with the proprietors of a local small business. Nice. But you get my point. Heaps of people had valid ID that they couldn't use and heaps of people were ripping off the system that the officials set in place. In short, it didn't work and they couldn't properly enforce it. Then there's the addressing the culture thing. I did some research last year about the expenditure of advertising expenditure on alcohol. I was surprised that it had dropped but what was interesting was the shift around on the type of alcohol advertisers were focussing on. You guessed it, low alcohol cheap stuff. So they dropped the spending on expensive spirits and moved it to cheap beer. Hmm Those older readers out there may also remember how wholesaler store layouts changed. There was more colour, more specials and more cheap crap. So how is this addressing the culture? Hmm? eh? huh? Especially when you consider these facts:
· There is a trend in alcohol advertising towards use of a broad range of media promotion methods such as sponsorship, competitions and special promotions, and to exploit new, unregulated media. Internet controls on alcohol marketing are virtually non-existent and regulation will demand concerted international effort. · Sponsorship by the alcohol industry has become common in key areas of popular culture including sport, music, film, fashion, television. There is also growing involvement of the alcohol industry in educational institutions. By extending its sphere of influence into these regions, the alcohol industry is maximising youth vulnerability to advertising and their important market potential. Sport is the most developed example of this trend – it has a large youthful audience who are a valuable investment for the alcohol industry in establishing the future long-term adult drinkers. In New Zealand, an unhealthy dependence of sports clubs, teams and events on financial support from breweries has been allowed to develop. · The alcohol industry has moved with shifts in youth culture by producing new products heavily branded and targeted to respond to these changes (Jackson et al. 2000). Research suggests that new product development by the alcohol industry is having an impact on young people’s drinking and is associated with increased drunkenness and dangerous behaviour. (Cooke et al. 2002) · The alcohol industry’s marketing budgets dwarf its expenditure on supporting educational and community activities. In 1998 there was approximately $52 million worth of product and sponsorship advertising on television, radio, magazines and press (AC Nielsen, 1999).
(ref: parliamentary library briefing thing) OK so before I rant on too much. There are a number of wee points in the Bill that I might address later if it gets to committee and I have to make a submission *sigh*. But yeah, in summary, the Bill is stupid, throw it out, young people Vote Green before those old bastards blame you for everything. Oh yeah, and thought Nandor's release about this Bill in relation to Youth Week was quite witty.

Surviving a tragedy

Firstly, looked at Cam's blog yet? He's slowly meandering his way home now (via beautiful scenic ocean and mountain roads - bastard) and should be back by the end of the week. Watching the trip from this end has been a pretty humblimg experience. When he first got there, the majority of the photos were of happy, clothed, fed children or, of camps that were apparently well resourced. Then he went out to those areas that got severely devastated by the tsunami and were left completely isolated. These are the areas where they still can't get aid there because there's no roads. There are the areas where they are only just starting to build roads but the progress is incredibly slow due to the difficulty of getting in equipment etc. This has been very humbling for me. Even though I had heard of Aceh before Boxing Day and I had a decent understanding of the politics of South East Asia it has still been a humbling experience to watch these images feed through. Knowing that I have done a bit to help in terms of money, time and trying to educate people about what's going on, yet still feeling like it's so enourmous that I'm unable to anything really. I don't think we will ever appreciate how much damage was done in these areas and I don't think we will ever appreciate how long it is going to take for these people to recover, if it happens in this lifetime. But thanks to the work of people like Cam bringing these images to us, to educate and remind us that even though the headlines might have faded away the problems are still there. And thanks to the people who are out there doing the hard mahi helping with the clean up and the rebuilding (eg Architecture for Humanity), and thanks to all those who have given time and money in other parts of the world. You all rock. When Cam gets back there will be opportunities to see the work he brings back so keep your eye out for that. In the meantime, cheers to him, bloody legend. And big ups to the people that paid for it, legendary as! I'll leave you with my favourite shot. I don't know much about the situation surrounding it, but to me it says Hope, and I have plenty of that for the people of Aceh.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Just like something out of Grimm

So I think something got slipped in the water this week. Everyone's gone mental. Firstly Maurice Williamson answered the mystery as to how the Nat's are planning on paying for all these roads, with magic! Cause, like, you know, motorists pay all this money into roading and it all mysteriously vanishes. Never mind the fact that we actually spend heaps more on roading than is contributed by road user charges and petrol tax. Pah, facts schmacts! Then Aunty Judy 'laid waste' to Nandor for the Green Party Drug Law Reform policy. She points out the R18 aspect of the policy and conveniently ignores the rest.

Mrs Turner described it as "a pathetic response that looks to weasel out of recent damning studies of cannabis and its links to psychosis in young users". "Suggesting legalising cannabis only for those over 18 means one thing - those under 18 will continue to source their cannabis where they get it today - the gang-lead black market and the local tinny houses."
What she conveniently ignores is that this will refocus police resources. If adults can legally acquire their own cannabis (within limits), the only people wanting to go anywhere near a tinny house will be young people but the risk for tinny house operators will be so much higher and the demand so much lower. So why would they bother? What she also conveniently ignores is that the Greens advocate removing the criminality aspect of cannabis (like United Future did in their submission to the Health Select Committee Inquiry into Cannabis) so that resources can be targetted towards large scale distributers (eg gangs) and also towards drug education and treatment. For Judy's benefit I have posted the relevant bit from the Green policy below:
Cannabis specific initiatives * Eliminate penalties for personal cannabis use for people aged 18 years and over. * Introduce a legal age limit of 18 years for personal cannabis use (this is consistent with alcohol). Those under 18 found in possession of cannabis would be treated in a way consistent with the Government’s 2002 Youth Development Strategy. * Define in law the limits on growing cannabis for personal use. * Ensure it remains an offence to drive while under the influence of cannabis. * Ensure that cannabis smoking is covered in the Smokefree Environments Act. * Commercial cultivation and trading of marijuana for profit would remain illegal, and areas currently relying on large scale illegal cultivation for their income will be assisted in making a transition to other work.
Then she talks about psychosis (*sigh*). According to the Minister in the House today (and his facts are accurate)
the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit study, ... shows that 8 percent of teens who use cannabis may develop a psychosis, such as schizophrenia, as a result of that use. Amongst those carrying a cannabis-vulnerable gene, the rate of psychosis is as high as 15 percent.
(emphasis my own) Her questions were responded to with this question from the Greens:
Nandor Tanczos: Has the Minister heard the statement made today by the lead researcher in the study he quoted, Associate Professor Richie Poulton, that the key implication of the study for politicians is how to delay the onset of cannabis use by young people, and that in his view the fact that cannabis use is a criminal act does not appear to deter its use by young people; who will he listen to: Judy Turner, or one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject? Hon PHIL GOFF: The person concerned, who has done a lot of work on this, most certainly has made the point that cannabis is more dangerous in some situations than others, and he points to the young, because of the effect on them; to those with a mental illness; and, as the Canterbury longitudinal study also points out, to those who are heavy users of the drug. Clearly, those are the people most vulnerable. My concern is that if we were to legalise the drug as the member wishes, it would not lead to a reduction in the use of drugs; it would undoubtedly bring down the price, because it would be legal and it is easy to cultivate, and that would lead to more people using the drug. That is a problem we simply do not need in this country. Nandor Tanczos: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I am sure the Minister did not deliberately mislead the House, but the Green Party policy is not to legalise cannabis; it is simply to remove criminal sanctions.
I have to say this is progress on the part of United Future. They have moved on from the 'drugs are bad mmmkay' argument to 'drug use causes harm' argument. But what I want to know is when the United Future party will start actively campaigning to deal with alcohol use in this country. I'm sure you've all heard this before but alcohol kills people, lots of people every year and is costing our country millions in health costs. It's really fucking dangerous. Is United Future going to advocate the prohibition of alcohol? (Try searching alcohol on their website). No cause that would be DUMB. They know it and we all know it. It would not solve the problem, in fact, it would make it worse. Nice to see that the United Future Party is again going for the 'vote for us cause we're 'normal' and 'straight' and 'sensible'' approach again. Pity they can't argue policy to save themselves. Oh and before I change topic the Minister said this today: Hon PHIL GOFF: As I indicated before, I think that decriminalisation of the drug would lead to its greater availability and heavier use. Why Phil? Where's your evidence. That has not proved to be the case anywhere in the world that has liberalised their cannabis laws, ever. Why would we be different? And then, we get the Minister of Education trying to tell us that students are ungrateful bastards for not appreciating all the wonderful things Labour have done for them this term. *cough*bollocks*cough* He said in reply to this patsy:
Lynne Pillay: Why are student allowance applications fewer than were forecast? Hon TREVOR MALLARD: There is a variety of reasons why students have not applied for allowances in the numbers that we expected, including a decline in enrolments because, among other things, students are staying at school longer. The National Certificate of Educational Achievement literacy and numeracy requirements mean that university students now need to be able to read and count. Record low unemployment has made it attractive for some students to go directly into the workforce, rather than to undertake study. There is a move towards more students studying part-time, rather than full-time. More students are finding that they can earn much more through part-time work than by taking an allowance. Parents’ incomes have increased more than expected, driven by wage increases, and a drop in unemployment—for example, amongst 45 to 49-year-olds, a major parent group for university students, where unemployment fell from 2.1 to 1.2 percent. There are a number of other reasons, including people being involved in industry training organisations. Part of the problem with this issue is that it is just all good news.
Oh bloody hell, what!?! And that explains a drop in applications by 22,000? Nah got nothing to do with getting rid of the ICA. Got nothing to do with the fact that students who were eligible for $100 a week and are now eligible for $10 a week are chosing not waste their 200 weeks of entitlement on that? The biggest bullshit is that he said 36,000 more students would be eligible in March knowing in February that the numbers were plummeting. Then he had the gall to respond to being questioned about why the Government only made a statement about this information when a student journalist went digging by saying: "We gave them the information to write the article." Sure, it was on the website, it was found by someone who looked and who was in a position to ask questions. So how come they didn't announce an even bigger increase in March when they knew the figures and knew they had spare cash? And it doesn't explain why they deliberately misled students last month by telling them that more students were getting allowances (not eligible for) allowances. The best bit of that interchange though (cause I had the pleasure of being there) was watching Cullen's ordinarily quite pinkish face go a whole new shade of worried pink when Nandor attempted to table the invoice from NZUSA for $56 million bucks on behalf of the 22,000 students that missed out of allowances. Needless to say, Cullen was the first to object to it being tabled. I think he was impressed by that tactic! Finally, I must point out a factual error. Russell Brown has an article about it and talks about Mallard referring to Nandor crying. Sorry Russell, he wasn't referring to Nandor, he was referring to Bill English. But undertandable mistake, transcripts aren't always the best at portraying what actually goes on in there. Especially those members that insist on using sarcasm... Anyway, that's my pent up rant for the day. Ka kite

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

New video, a must watch!

From the people that brought us The Meatrix a new video about what's in the food we buy. Check out Store Wars. May The Farm Be With You! (Note: this is not the final version, draft, sneaky preview version!) UPDATE apparently too many people have been looking at it and it's been pulled off. Will let you know when I find it again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

That's hardly surprising

sgt. pepper
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Which Beatles Album Are You?
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Monday, May 02, 2005

I'm not a prohibitionist but...

If there's going to be a law against anything it should be against BOTH of your heaters crapping out at the beginning of winter. (It was fun, there was sparks!) No, can't ban that, it would be silly. So instead let's take a harm reduction approach to keeping kakariki warm. I need a new heater, but I want one that is cheap to run, energy efficient, is made by happy workers and doesn't destory too many eco systems in the process of constructing it. Is there a ethical heater purchasing expert out there? Is it cheaper to run electric bar heaters or oil heaters? Can you buy heaters made in NZ, or failing that Australia? C'mon kids, help me keep warm and ethical!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Scuse me while I indulge

I must have picked up some new readers recently as the stats are picking up nicely. So for you newbies, read WorldChanging now and every day from now on. If you're a greeny hippy you'll love it and if you're not you might be able to pull your head out your ass for one minute and realise that all your previous ideas about greens being anti-technology luddites were, to put it nicely, compost. ahem, now that's out of my system... WorldChanging is interesting, that's a given. Every time I go there there's something that tickles my fancy or grabs my attention in some other pleasurable way. But then occaisionally and almost everything makes you go "HOLY FUCK THAT'S SO COOL" or "I WANT ONE" or some similar exclamation. Tonight was one of those nights so I'm going to insist on sharing some with you. (Don't even think about leaving now kids!) Firstly, those of you who know me will know I have rather staunch opinions on exploration cause there's that raving anti-colonist in me. So I get excited when people go on exploration missions with a bit more than "what money can we make out of this new thing" in their heads. These guys are in the 'doing it cause it's there' camp of exploration. But what's cool about their trip is that they went "so antarctica's getting screwed by climate change more than anywhere else so let's make as minimal impact on this place as we possibly can". What's really cool about this post as these guys have put out a call out for help on the details. They give the parameters and ask for feedback. Comments are pretty interesting (especially if you're an energy geek! Next up there's a rather glowing review of Hitchhikers Guide. Bit of a contrast to span's which makes me even more keen to see it. Although I'm not to keen on going alone... *sending vague hints to the universe* Rolling on... (or should I saw scrolling down) The Ndiyo project. basically cool, small, energy efficient, Linux based computer roll out development project. Another article to fit in the WorldChanging leapfrogging technology topic. Then there's this! Go the site to check out it's story. But great to see public art based on raising public consciousness about the waste aspect of this great technological revolution we're living in. Which brings me to this one (yeah sorry flicking around the site now), which has some damn interesting observations to make about the connections between the level of creativity in a given place in relation to the propensity towards innovation in those same places and the likelihood of all these creative, innovative people to want to live their lives in sustainable ways. It raises some good questions about what the hell we're doing in little ol' Aotearoa. Take Wellington, there's a whole heap of creative people here (I love you all!) and there's a whole heap of innovative people and everywhere I go people are talking about some cool thing they are doing to make their lives more sustainable. People getting excited about the little things in their own lives, but also bemoaning the lack of support for some truly radical shifts in the way we run the city as a whole. There's still that stupid ass road going through and there's still people wanting more of them. We did manage to keep the trolley busses around but these are baby steps compared to what's out there. Where is the radical building design energy freak designer plan writers? Why isn't the city council pushing this? (And don't tell me I'm not looking hard enough, I shouldn't have to). Instead we've still got Kerry "I don't care if you hate me" Prendergast and the the only issue the two 'contenders' for Parliament have managed to agree to debate on is a stupid car race. The three of them combined wouldn't have any vision even if you stuck them in a room full of magnifying glasses and the full back catalogue of The Ecologist for three weeks. Creative Capital my ass. Ooh, that was a rant, should stop now. I mean move to the next article. This article about the energy balances of the planet is rather interesting, especially if you're like me and find the whole topic of climate change rather dense and confusing (that would be because it is folks). Then this beautiful thing and more photos here of extreme cool truck art in Pakistan. I like that, if you're going to drive a vehicle, make it gorgeous! Finally (promise) for the linguistic geeks out there a rather interesting article about Globish - or the new global communication language. OK sorry. Thank you all for allowing me to have that wee indulgence. I don't think it hppens all that often (if ever) and if you were equally interested in at least one of those articles then I am not the only freak around here... And of course if anyone has any thoughts about all that stuff up there, you know what button to push.

What a weekend - really!

OK so I didn't jinx the weekend by hyping it up before it started, yay! Dragged myself out on Friday night to see Straight Jacket Fits and it was AMAZING! The audience was a good mix too, old and young. What impressed me was the number of people who I spoke to who hadn't actually heard of them! What they were doing there was beyond me but good to see people there after new experiences. So it was a fantastic gig and great to hear some old classics. Talking to some of the band members afterwards confirmed they'd enjoyed it as much as the audience. Thanks guys, you're fuckin legends and the tour is a bloody brilliant idea. Rock and fucking roll! Next stop in the weekend has been the May Day activities. I went to the PGA hui and 128 workshops yesterday which were all very interesting and useful. Good to see such a positive strong spirit in the activist community in Wellington. May it live on and strengthen! Last night was the Cake Shop fundraiser party at Thistle Hall. I wasn't there for very long cause I was too tired and sick and had to go home and drink hot tea and sit up for hours talking about the state of the universe. But I hear there was a decent turnout and money was raised, so yay! And of course the piece de resistance was the May Day march through town today. A couple of hundered turned up and there was HEAPS of noise! There were a number of stops along the way at particular businesses where workers are going through actions and a number of people spoke. The march finished at Thistle Hall where the anarchists sang a wee song for the state before they smashed it - 'it' being a wonderfully constructed cardboard model of the beehive. Then everyone piled into Thistle Hall for free kai from Food Not Bombs, yay for revolutionary snacks! Apparently things didn't go quite so smoothly in Auckland. Kia kaha to the crew up there. And if you're in Wellington and have nothing to do tonight, the Freedom Shop anarchist bookshop is celebrating 10 years at Thistle Hall tonight with some really good musicians playing. It will be worth going to. Worth celebrating too. 10 years of re-educating the public and supporting anarchist organisation in Wellington. Now that's community!

*shakes head slowly*

I've reached the heavy blogger status over at DPF's site. Hmmm Well, at least I'm not on the need a life list! Sorry I didn't send you my stats Dave, busy weekend, will try to next month.

Happy May Day!

I'm off to march!

Amazing photos!

Previously mention blog Wellingtonian in Aceh is getting fascinating. Cam has been there for a few days now and done a bit of travelling so his photos are from a few places and the stories are getting interesting. I recommend a look.