Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday morning ramble, 25 Nov

More offcuts this morning from the 'virtual desk' of this blogger. Here's what didn't or won't make it into its own post this week or next, but which I picked up and kicked around and aime to write about at length but didn't, or won't.
  • Jason Quintana reflects that as the world becomes more advanced technologically, scientifically and economically -- in other words, as we become more a world primarily of mind instead of muscle -- the education for that world will of necessity take longer and maturity will come later, and those most suited for that world will be those least suited to be penned up for so long in factory schools being 'socialised' while awaiting their chance to soar. I give you: Why Nerds Are Unpopular.
  • What role does philosophy play in history? According to standard Objectivist theory, it is ideas that move history. But Robert Tracinski, the editor of magazine The Intellectual Activist, challenges that view in a three-part series that has attracted much attention, and much of that negative. The three parts can be found here: Part 1: What Went Right? The Non-Collapse of Civilization; Part 2: What Went Right? The Implosion of the Population Bomb; and Part 3: What Went Right? Pajama Epistemology. Author Ed Cline takes up the cudgels on behalf of the opposing point in The Intellectual Activist's Lost Guide. His main point is this:
    [Honest hard-working] men are today working in a philosophical vacuum. Unless a philosophy of reason salvages our culture and civilization, civilization cannot move forward and the work of such men will be for nought. Their work will constitute the rubble of a civilization that committed suicide because it rejected a fully consistent philosophy of reason.
  • Tibor Machan reflects on them old Market Blues: "The free market economy is the most suited to human commercial affairs, there is no reasonable doubt about this. But a free market leaves some people with various laments that then tempt them to undermine this great institution..." Why? Read on for a new take on those who make the perfect the enemy of the good, and their whims the enemy of markets. 'Market failure?' No, says Tibor, just people doing what people value.
  • Why will people intervene to help the victims of violence, except when the thugs are wearing police uniforms? That's the question posed in Police = Man by Vigesimal Pundit, who suggests we're still to fully outgrow our attraction to kings, emperors and Nanny-knows-best government.
  • Milton Friedman videos abounded this week: here's another in which the late Uncle Milt expounds on libertarianism, beginning by contrasting his own utilitarian libertarianism with the more principled 'libertarianism' of Ayn Rand. (For her own part, Rand repudiated the label 'libertarian,' and described Friedman's "value-free" economics as giving the game away.) Uncommon Knowledge: What is a Libertarian? - with Milton Friedman.
  • Meanwhile, Ed Younkins's survey of the intellectual history of liberty and a free society is worth some investigation to see the intellectual stream in which Rand and Friedman sit. It is a broad stream going back to Aristotle and Lao Tzu, and continuing today with thinkers such as the late Robert Nozick, Michael Novak and Thomas Sowell. Younkins's survey allows you to see these thinkers in context, with both strengths and errors magnified by comparison to other thinkers. Revisiting the Intellectual History of a Free Society. [Broken link fixed.]
  • And speaking of videos and the intellectual tradition of liberty, Marcus Bachler has discovered a video interview with the author of a new book, The Age of Rand – Imagining an Objectivist Future World. Notes Marcus, "The author claims that there will be an 'Age of Rand' 50-100 years from now." "If only!" we might say. Watch it yourself to see if this is wishful thinking on the author's part, or something else: The Age of Rand – Imagining an Objectivist Future World [video].
  • Stephen Hicks links to a "an excellent series of reflections by Marsha Enright at the College of the United States’s website, reflecting chiefly on "What makes a great teacher great?" Highly recommended. Her answer: First We Must Inspire, Not Just Inform.
  • And Stephen uncovers another gem: Two pieces by Kathy Sierra explain "why creative people shouldn’t wait for the muse to show up"; or, how deadlines help your creativity. Don't Wait for the Muse, and How to Make Something Amazing, Right Now.
  • Borat. I confess, I'm a fan. But sundry others aren't. The LA Times has a story on the people suing Borat and making lawyers rich-- from the drunken frat boys pillloried in the film to some of the Romanian villagers of Glod, in which some scenes were filmed and numerous attractive Kazakhstani women were featured. And goats. Villagers to Sue Borat. Meanwhile, the Kazakhstani ambassador to Britain gets the joke, but wishes he didn't have to. He begins:
    LET ME admit it: we Kazakhs owe Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat’s creator, a debt. Not only is he capable of making many of us — myself included — laugh out loud, but his spoof documentary Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, has resulted in the kind of media attention of which previously I could only dream...
  • Cactus Kate looks at Nicky Hager and sees at once a hollow man and a peddler of the bleeding obvious. Somewhat cynically (and who can blame her) she makes the point: Politicians lie? Big deal. "It's called politics you stupid little man. It's their JOB. Whole industries are created on this... Next he will be publishing a tell-all book on how the tax consulting industry is profiting from IRD policy. The next book really should be about Nicky Hager himself. Maybe a job for Ian Wishart. Oh. That's right. He's busy."
  • Architectural drawing is an art all its own. Have a look at this year's winners of the KRob Architectural Drawing Competition, the sort of stuff you have to do if winning architectural competitions is your thing. I have to confess that too often the slickness of so much architectural drawing is intended simply to obscure the banality of the architecture delineated, and my own preference for architectural drawings are those that are clear, explanatory and still delightful in their own right -- and there are very few of the latter to be found here. There's an example on the right. The 32nd Annual Ken Roberts Architectural Delineation Competition.
  • Now to Tonga. An interesting letter appeared on the Matangi Tonga website, castigating the leaders of the so-called pro-democracy movement for their involvement in the recent and ongoing violence. Mobocracy at work is the view of the author, one Inoke Fotu Huakau.
    One of the worst forms of social incompetence reared its ugly head that day, apathy in its worst form. The helpless owners and employees of businesses that were looted and burned, right in front of a church-going public, with only a few daring to lend a helping hand. A public severed of their social responsibility and altruistic values through years of mindless propaganda of hatred and the principle of “them and us” in the name of democracy. But above all that, is the total failure of our Police force to plan for such social occurrence, and to protect the property and rights of the business sector that has been the target of hate campaign by the leaders of the pack ‘Akilisi Pohiva and ‘Uliti Uata... The government has been trying to appease the Pangai Si’i Mob in a number of ways, but with the irrationally intoxicated mind of the pack leaders, they take any indecision by government as a weakness of leadership and it fueled their arrogance by the day.
    Strong stuff. PRs [ie., MPs] Who Instigate Terrorism Should Resign
  • Strong stuff too from Amy Brooke at The Critical Review, who has been Sickened by the Media and what the media have done to Don Brash. She occasionally misses the point (her objection to cheap Chinese imports for example, and some of her choices of reading material) but this long and angry post is worth reflecting on.
    As thick as two planks - but bloated on self-esteem - the verdict on too many of our media reporters and interviewers.

    The climate of unpleasantness the media systematically built up around Don Brash in recent months, intensifying because of the contemptible act of his emails being stolen, will be a pyrrhic victory for the fourth estate. It is already regarded as among the lowest of professions in this country. It will now be reckoned as the lowest. But it never seems to strike home why this is the case.


  • And finally here's a neat website that you can play with yourself to show which countries you've travelled in. Really useful for ... adding colour to blog posts on a Saturday morning, as I've done with mine, above. Enjoy adding your own. Create your own visited countries map. I'm sure you can improve on mine.
There you go. Plenty of good weekend reading for you. While, you're investigating all or some of that, I'll be putting the finishing touches on the next Free Radical magazine, due out at the end of the week. Do keep an eye out for it: it's going to be a beauty!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Beer O’Clock – Dog trumps Hog

Your beer update this week comes from a cricket-addled Neil Miller from the Real Beer website:

Time is short in the House That Beer Built today.

Consequently, I have decided to post my latest column, which is reprinted with kind permission from The Wellingtonian newspaper. [Much more of this and I won't be sending those cheques - Ed.]

There are Loaded Hogs scattered up and down the country (and even one in Spain) so the article should be read as a nation-wide warning -- it should also disprove the mistaken theory that I like all beers.

Truthfully, all beers are not created equal

I have heard more stories about indifferent staff, inexplicable delays, corked wine, cold food and off beer at the Loaded Hog than all the other bars in Wellington put together.

At first glance, it is hard to see what there is not to like about the Hog. Like the Hog at Auckland's Viaduct, the Wellington Hog is a big venue which nestles comfortably on a prime waterfront location (See picture right).

I love the feel of the interior, full of deep woods, dark fabrics and exposed stone.

You have choices. You can stand and talk, dine at a table, drink at a leaner, lounge on the couches, relax in a sheltered porch or take your chances on the sunny but sometimes windswept balcony [Note: This clearly refers to the Wellington location only - Ed.].

It really does have everything ... except, that is, when you try to eat or drink there. On my last visit to Welington's Hog I received only average service. Unfortunately, that was easily the best service I have ever had there.

The service is often slow (even when quiet) and frequently shambolic. I worry when a simple request to open a tab for lunch baffles the staff to the extent they have a team meeting to decide if my “wacky” request is possible.

However, I wanted to give the place another chance so I headed off down the waterfront to check out the Loaded Hog range of beers.

I started with the Hog Wheat. This poured light in the glass with virtually no head. The low flavour intensity and the slice of lemon reminded me more of an old Corona than a wheat beer. There was a dodgy flavour lurking in there.

It popped up again in the Hog Gold. A pleasant looking beer, it failed to back it up when tasted. There was a dirty malt sweetness, but now I could clearly taste butterscotch.

Butterscotch means diacetyl, and diacetyl is bad news for most beers. It can either be a brewing fault or a problem with the storage and serving of the beer.

It simply boomed out of the Hog Draught, a mid-brown beverage with a sweet, muddy honey finish.

The “pick” of a very poor bunch was the Hog Dark. It was a dark brown beer, light in the mouth with a gentle roasted coffee and chocolate flavour. The butterscotch was a bit more integrated in the Dark but it hardly sent me rushing to the bar for another.

In fact, and in search of a good beer, it sent me heading out for the short walk round to One Red Dog.

Like a fool, I tried their Hog Wheat. Uuugh! It had the same problems as the Hog's Wheat and I sent it straight back. No one batted an eyelid. I guess it happens a lot.

With some trepidation, I sipped at the replacement Mac’s Reserve. It was simply spectacular. At $15 for pitcher of fresh Mac’s Reserve, One Red Dog is a fine place to drink good beer on a budget.

That near-perfect Reserve saw the Dog trump the Hog in my book.

LINKS: Loaded Hog Brewery

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere

Happy Thanksgiving

As my American friends enjoy their thanksgiving celebration today, let me offer you this heartfelt thanksgiving tribute from Lindsay Perigo: A Thanksgiving For All Mankind.
I want to join our American friends this day in giving thanks to their Pilgrim Fathers, and more importantly, their Founding Fathers (I hope they are doing that!), for creating the greatest country on earth, Western civilisation's highest achievement: the United States of America.
Read on here for why this really should be a thanksgiving day for us all.

PS: Don't think the United States of America is Western civilisation's highest achievement? Then you tell me yours, after you've read Perigo's.

RELATED: Events, History

Cool on Key

I'm trying to summon up some enthusiasm for John Key.
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No. Can't do it.

Can anyone tell me three reasons that I should?

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-National

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First vote goes for bedpan on Bledisloe

As I suggested yesterday the Auckland City Council was faced with two false alternatives in their stadium vote last night: stupid, and bloody stupid.

They went for bloody stupid.

But they gave themselves an out: if the bloody stupid bedpan isn't built on Bledisloe and Mallard bulldozes on regardless -- and let's face it, "bulldozing on regardless" is his most characteristic personality trait -- they can try and wash their hands of what they've done.

There's still two votes to go before a billion dollars is directed towards one stadium for two rugby games, but it's worth reflecting on the hangover afterwards for expensive stadiums built for prestige instead of with economic sense. They're currently reflecting on post-Olympic hangovers in London, in Greece and in Barcelona -- and air travellers are still paying for the Sydney hangover.

Is that going to be Auckland's fate in 2012, though without even the undeniable architectural delights those other cities have as compensation?

UPDATE: These are the twelve councillors that Auckland ratepayers need to remember at the next council elections: Scott Milne, Glenda Fryer, Leila Boyle, Graeme Mulholland, Richard Northey, Dick Hubbard, Doug Armstrong, Noelene Raffills, Vern Walsh, Linda Leighton, Toni Millar, Bill Christian.

UPDATE 2: Newstalk ZB's website will be streaming live the ARC's meeting for their own stadium vote later today. As the putative 'owners' of the Ports of Auckland, the ARC should be expected to guard the interests of New Zealand's largest port and our trade gateway to the world. But they are also politicians.

UPDATE 3: Vote expected by midday.

UPDATE 4: ARC seem to be heading towards a "No" on the bedpan. The presentation to them earlier this morning by Ports of Auckland and the lack of solid information on the bedpan both seem to have been highly influential.

UPDATE 5: ARC turns down bedpan unanimously, on a vote of 12-0. Notes Newstalk ZB:

In summing up just before the vote, ARC Chairman, Mike Lee says it all came down to a matter of costs, not just of building the stadium, but on Ports of Auckland and the environment.

He also counted the moral cost of over-riding the Resource Management Act, the precedent and moral dilemma that it would create for councillors. Mr Lee says those costs are just too great.

Attention now turns to Helengrad: How does Mallard spin these two votes to sidestep the resounding "No" vote? What deals can he do? And does he have the numbers to get the necessary legislation voted through? Herald summary here.

UPDATE 6: Mallard has announced a press conference in Auckland for 3:30 this afternoon. I note that Mother Hubbard has already said that she "didn't hear the word 'veto' used this morning" -- is that to be the spin? 12-0 against, but you don't count that because the word "veto" isn't used!

Could it now be possible to throw both false alternatives out, and to proceed with one of the more sensible options?

LINKS: Stadium choice: Two false alternatives - Not PC
The 2012 Olympic Games - One London
The day(s) after - Alexander Kitroeff, Greekworks.Com
Building another ghost town for the Olympics? - Patrick Hanlon, The Informer Online
[Hat tip Owen McShane]
Waterfront stadium: ARC 'no', city council 'yes', Mallard? - NZ Herald

RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland

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"Deaf culture" impairing life for young deaf?

From the latest New Scientist comes this news:
Ear implant success sparks culture war: Is sign language doomed to extinction? New research shows that profoundly deaf children who are given cochlear implants before their first birthday develop language and speech skills just as good as those of hearing children. But some in the deaf community maintain that the implants are killing deaf culture and that it is unethical to operate on otherwise healthy babies ...
Seems to me a complete misunderstanding of what constitutes "ethics," and from where a rational ethics is derived. If life is the standard of value by which all values and virtues derive (and that is surely the only rational basis on which to base an ethics), then cochlear implants for the young are unreservedly good. Unquestionably. Using science to advance human life in this way is unreservedly good.

Only if you base your ethics on some other irrational standard could you possibly argue it is "unethical" to give hearing to a youngster. Those arguing for the irrational are welcome to maintain their "deaf culture" for themselves, but to deprive the gift of hearing from others in the name of such a thing, to deprive a new generation of being able to hear, would itself be unethical.

LINK: Ear implant success sparks culture war - New Scientist
Cochlear implants - US FDA
Deaf pride: Spreading the word - The Lompoc Record
The reality impaired - A Writer's Life

RELATED: Ethics, Science

Mt Eden House - Organon Architecture


Speaking of 45A View Road, it was the first house I drew up on CAD (yes, I was a "late adopter").

Here's some pics.

RELATED: Architecture


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Thursday, November 23, 2006

PUBLIC NOTICES: U2 ticket for sale

FOR SALE: A friend has a ticket to U2 that she no longer wants. Email me if you're interested, and I'll put you in touch.

UPDATE: Sold.

Gore Re-Gored

Al Gore's film may have inadvertently done us all a favour: by making itself a home for all the main global warming nostrums and a lightning rod for global warming enthusiasm -- attracting worldwide bouts of almost religious enthusiasm, including local cheerleaders from Helen Clark to John Key, whose "buttons," he said had all been pushed -- it has attracted to it as well high-voltage bolts of criticism that demolish his primary thesis.

Two authors in particular have been carrying serious water debunking Al Gore's celluloid fits of fantasy.

Writing in the UK's Sunday Telegraph, Christopher Monckton even attracted Al Gore himself to fire off a broadside defending himself and his science. A scathing Monckton has just fired off his return salvo [pdf].

You can see the whole series here -- and you owe it to yourself to get to grips with the arguments:
1. Christopher Monckton (5 Nov.): The Sun is Warmer Now Than for the Past 11,400 Years
2. Christopher Monckton (12 Nov.): Wrong problem. Wrong Solution
3. Al Gore's response (19 Nov.): At Stake is Nothing Less Than the Survival of Human Civilisation
4. Christopher Monckton: Gore Gored: A Science-based response to Al Gore’s Global Warming Commentary in London’s Sunday Telegraph, 19 November 2006. [PDF]
And Marlo Lewis offers his 'Skeptics Guide to An Inconvenient Truth,'which you would have seen here in draft format, now updated into an online book, a powerpoint display, and a series of short online videos:
A Skeptics Guide to an Inconvenient Truth - online book
Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore - Videos
Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore - Powerpoint presentation
This is a goldmine. If for example you know teachers who are using Gore's film as a 'teaching tool,' as many are unfortunately doing, then send them Lewis's Powerpoint presentation [ppt] as a counter-balance.

Now as you would expect, both Monckton and Lewis make similar criticisms of the main points of the film. Monckton quotes Senator James Inhofe’s list of some of Gore’s scientific errors or exaggerations, which gives you a convenient short list of the main points of both in summary form:
  • · Gore promoted the now-debunked “hockey stick” temperature chart for the past 1,000 years in an attempt to prove man’s overwhelming impact on the climate, and attempted to debunk the significance of the mediaeval warm period and little ice age (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore insisted on a link between increased hurricane activity and global warming that most scientist believe does not exist (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore asserted that today’s Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warmth while ignoringthat temperatures in the 1930’s were as warm or warmer (NCDC, 2006);
  • · Gore said the Antarctic was warming and losing ice but failed to note, that is only true of a small region and the vast bulk has been cooling and gaining ice (see my first article).
  • · Gore hyped unfounded fears that Greenland’s ice is in danger of disappearing (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore erroneously claimed that ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro is disappearing due to global warming, though satellite measurements show no temperature change at the summit, and the peer-reviewed scientific literature suggests that desiccation of the atmosphere in the region caused by post-colonial deforestation is the cause of the glacial recession (see my first article).
  • · Gore made assertions of massive future sea level rise that is way out side of any supposed scientific “consensus” and is not supported in even the most alarmist literature (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore incorrectly implied that a Peruvian glacier's retreat is due to global warming, while ignoring the fact that the region has been cooling since the 1930s and other glaciers in South America are advancing (see Polissar et al., 2005, for an interesting discussion of glaciers in the tropical Andes).
  • · Gore blamed global warming for water loss in Africa's Lake Chad, though NASA scientists had concluded that local water-use and grazing patterns are probably to blame (Foley and Coe, 2001).
  • · Gore inaccurately said polar bears are drowning in significant numbers due to melting ice when in fact 11 of the 13 main groups in Canada are thriving, and there is evidence that the only groups that are not thriving are in a region of the Arctic that has cooled (Taylor, 2006).
  • · Gore did not tell viewers that the 48 scientists whom he quoted as having accused President Bush of distorting science were part of a political advocacy group set up to support the Democrat Presidential candidate, John Kerry, in 2004.
Now, go do your homework.
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RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-UK, Politics

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Bugger

I'm both sad and happy to hear today's news. Very sad indeed for the country, which now loses the chance to have what could have been one of our very best PMs, but happy for him that he can now get out of the disgusting three-ring circus that is NZ's parliamentary politics.

I'm bitterly disappointed for liberty in New Zealand because it's transparently clear that Brash was the only senior NZ politician who even respected the idea -- which, combined with his acumen and honesty was no doubt the reason he was both so unpopular with his colleagues and so close to winning the last election.

The best accolade to give him is that he was never a good politician. Honesty is not valued in a politician; what is wanted in politics in this place a is the ability to lie with a straight face, to stroke egos, to spin, and to smile as you put the knife in. Brash was never a good politician.

National have for a long time now just wanted "a good politician" for their leader -- which to his great credit Brash could never be -- and that's now exactly what they'll get: Whichever of the three front-runners gets the job on Monday, the new leader will be just another politician.

UPDATE: Michael Bassett says in an enlightening audio interview with Leighton Smith that "malice" from journalists, especially those from TV3, is what brought Brash down. "He has not always surrounded himself with the best advisers" is another obvious insight.

LINK: Statement on Don Brash's resignation - Scoop
Brash stands down - TVNZ
Don Brash: Speaking notes for media conference - National
Bassett comments on Brash resigning - Newstalk ZB [audio]
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RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-National

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Benson-Dope sleaze just more irrelevant crap from Wishart

Hicky Nager and Ian Wish-hard deserve to get stuck in a lift together. They could spend the time 'investigating' each other instead of trying to fill up the news media with drivel.

I agree almost one-hundred percent with G-man: as I've said many times before, what goes on in David Benson-Pope's private life is just that, his private life. Not my business, not your business, not Ian Wish-hard's business (oh, sorry, peddling crap is his business).

What is my business and yours' is not what Benson-Dope does in the the privacy of his own home or in somebody else's dungeon, but the truly disgusting things he does right out there in the open -- trying to ban Guy Fawkes; administering the awful RMA instead of putting a stake through its heart; helping manipulate the shonky welfare figures of the Orwellian-sounding Ministry of Social Development; attacking Don Brash for his private life (oh, the irony). Concentrate on those repellent things done in the course of his day job, not what he may or may not get up to of an evening.

"I'm too busy to join a sex club," says Benson-Dope
this morning. Personally, I wish all 121 MPs had much more time for a private life, achieved by leaving us the hell alone.

LINKS: Race to the bottom - G-Man Inc.
Minister: I'm too busy to join a sex club - NZ Herald
Benson-Pope misleads Parliament - Lindsay Mitchell - Scoop
You want a link to Wishart's sleaze? Go find it yourself.

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Nonsense

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Bullshit and Jellybeans and You

You are invited to an evening of Bullshit, Bernard Darnton, barbecue and a host of fellow blog readers. Oh, and beer. For certain, beer.

With Christmas and the next Free Radical magazine both nearly upon us, the semi-official 'Not PC'/Free Radical Xmas barbecue is imminent: Friday week, December 1st, and you're invited.
  • Meet Not PC's contributor's and fellow posters.
  • Find out in-person what's happening with Bernard's case in Darnton V Clark
  • See episodes of Penn & Teller's 'Bullshit' on the big screen, on the hour every hour.
  • Walk through an original Organon Architecture house.
  • Enjoy music, drinking, cigars, fatty food, hilarity -- and just a few surprises!
But don't come expecting canapés on tap: this is a strictly TANSTAAFL affair. Bring your own drink, food, companions, attitudes of mirth, whips, chains and ice cream. Jellybeans may be provided. See you there Friday 1st at 45A View Road, Mt Eden, from 5pm on. Cheers!

RELATED: Blog, Events

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Stadium choice: Two false alternatives

Three events today will see chances for the waterfront behemoth advance, or recede.
  • A meeting to protest the waterfront stadium and the railroading through of the waterfront option will be held in Auckland's Aotea Square at 12:30pm, with speakers from Rodney Hide to Keith Locke.
  • The protest meeting is in advance of the Auckland City Council's meeting this evening to vote on their preference.
  • That vote may be delayed by the court hearing this morning seeking an injunction on any vote, on the basis that councils are acting illegally by allowing insufficient time for consultation.
And it's worth reminding readers that the short time for a decision isn't the only railroading going on here: cheaper and better options were peremptorily ruled out by Minister Mallard in order to oppose as two false alternatives one expensive white elephant with another in order for the Bedpan to be the favoured choice.

Because it's clear if you list the stadiums in order of preference (my preference) based on either quoted costs (or estimated costs of $9,000/seat) and their long-term potential for actually being used regularly and contributing to the city, neither the full Eden Park option nor the Bedpan would figure highly.
  1. Eden Park -- temporary stands (about $45-100m)
  2. Jade Stadium -- additions to 60,000 ($80m)
  3. North Harbour -- additions to 60,000 ($226m)
  4. Carlaw Park -- new stadium and Domain renovations (say $750m, minus Eden Park's sale)
  5. Wiri - new stadium and rail lines (say $750m, minus Eden Park's sale)
  6. Telstra Stadium, Sydney -- (you could buy ownership for just A$200m -- Stadium New Zealand in Sydney!)
  7. Waka Stadium -- what cost?
  8. Eden Park -- gold-plated option ($385m plus)
  9. Bedpan -- new stadium, plus new facility for Ports ($1 billion plus)
It's also worth remembering that the Eden Park Trust Board helped bring this whole farce about when they saw their chance at piles of government money coming their way, and they went from what was a proposal for essentially temporary stands to the current bout of grandomania.

RELATED:
Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland

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New stadium height comparison

Subsequent to discussions on the Stadium Drawings Deceptive thread, Den MT has sent me this comparision (above) generated from Warren and Mahoney's sketch drawings and with Union House as a datum -- the diagonally-braced building in the pictures -- which produced the drawing below, and a model from which the image above was derived.
As a reminder, the interstorey height for Union House is 3.4m.

And Robin, who provided the original images shown here the other day, has his own post up showing his own mock-up at his own blog. As mentioned in his post he is using estimated dimensions "but I still think the true impact of this thing is being minimsed by the viewpoint & perspectives chosen and the true issue is: Do we need it at all?"

UPDATE 1: Here's another comparison, this time from the west, with the top view provided by architects Warren & Mahoney (which appears to show the stadium on Bledisloe Wharf), the bottom view from Robin's stadium model.


UPDATE 2: Same comparison using Robin's new model, from a lower eye level (if you have Google Earth, you can download Robins's KMZ model at his site and play around to your heart's content with how the thing looks):

RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Getting tough" in Manukau?

The Mayor of Manukau and the Police District Commander for Counties Manukau want to “get tough” on violence in the Manukau area, where twelve people have died in recent months from violence and destruction.

Do they want to seriously crack down on vandalism, graffiti and hooliganism -- stopping young criminals before a career of criminality -- along the lines of New York’s enormously successful ‘Broken Windows’ programme? No, they don’t.

Do they want to unshackle policemen like the former Sergeant Solomona who was sacked for treating young criminals as young criminals – for literally getting tough with criminals and demanding respect for the law? No, nothing like that.

Do they back a man’s right to defend himself and his co-workers against a violent machete attack? You must be kidding.

Are they calling for sentencing, parole and bail provisions that ensure that those charged and convicted with violent crimes aren’t able to threaten peaceful people, and that demonstrates to those contemplating violent crime that criminals are not role models, and that serious crime will guarantee serious consequences? No, of course not.

Are they demanding a change to the failed education policies of the state’s factory schools in which up to sixty percent of Maori and up to forty percent of non-Maori emerge functionally illiterate, and the majority emerge having never learned that their actions will have real-life consequences? Not a bit of it.

Are they demanding a change to the endemic culture of welfare dependency, a culture that all-but engulfs South Auckland’s suburbs, which are awash with government money and government programmes? You really must be joking.

Getting tough? Really?

What they say is “Let’s Get Tough,” but what they’re doing is … trying to close down Manukau’s liquor stores. As always when tough political problems are raised the tough questions are unasked, and the easy political solution is wheeled out. “Get tough on violence” say the Mayor and the District Commander, and the district’s alcohol retailers quake. This ignore the many causes, and remove only a symptom. They seek to look tough, and succeed only in looking pathetic.

This is just more of the same short-term blindness that has caused the problems they now claim to be addressing. I look forward to Mayor Curtis and District Commander X genuinely getting tough – perhaps by acting on even one of the real problems just touched on above.

While I’m waiting, I might just have a drink. Or even two.

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Hager, Brash and 'Herald' humbug

Unable as I am to post or read substantially from my regular web sources (thanks iHug) I do want to comment on some of what appeared on the front page of this morning's Herald since it does help explain why I started blogging: In short, because there's so much nonsense that passes for educated commentary.

I refer of course to Nicky Hager Vs Don Brash. If you want my opinion, here it is.

Says the Herald, "Hager said he had planned to launch the book yesterday, but was prohibited from doing so." Leaving aside for the moment the reputation of Dicky Faker for honesty and integrity -- a reputation which, based on past history, must be somewhere close to the freezing point of glycol -- as I understand it what is injuncted are emails stolen from Brash's computer. If FaFer has written his book based on emails that weren't stolen -- "Hager said the emails weren't stolen," says the Herald -- then he's free to publish his book. It would seem however that he doesn't.

The man, once again, is lying -- as too it seems is John Armstrong, who writes blandly of the "High Court injunction blocking publication of Hager's book." This is pure humbug, if not outright lying to his readers. I'll say it again: the injunction is against stolen emails, not against Hager's book. If Hippy Daker has data honestly come by (if he would even know what "honest" looks like), then he is free to make if it what he will.

But it seems he doesn't.

The Herald continues with further humbug. "Blanket injunctions of the kind of the kind that Dr Brash has obtained are not healthy for our democracy," pontificates the Herald. "Those who ask to be entrusted with power have to accept that their dealings should be an open book."

Now, this is nonsense. Are they really suggesting that all "those who ask to be entrusted with power" should make their private emails avaliable to whoever asks for them? Apparently so.

They boast they are "in possession of hard-copied emails which are, or may be, the subject of [Brash's injunction" -- in other words, emails stolen from Brash's computer -- and they are presently arguing in court for these to be publicly released. Not to do so, their lawyer is arguing, is "inconsistent with the rights of freedom of expression affirmed and protected by Section 14 of the Bill of Rights Act."

Frankly, this is bullshit, just as much as TV3's argument that injuncting these private emails is an "unreasonable restriction on freedom of expression."

If they really and truly believe this, then I look forward to the Herald senior staff and the producers and presenter of Campbell Live making the contents of their own emails available to us all online, and seeing their applications to the courts for the release of private emails of H1, H2, Alan Bollard, Mark Prebble, and the entire front bench of the Clark Cabinet.

As I say, this is bullshit, nd not just from Hager who is professionally enmired in the stuff.

Hager claims he is doing work "in the public interest," work that "shines a light on many deceptive and unethical activities" etc. etc. etc., and he outlines some of his claims in the press pack up there at Scoop.

Now it's hard to answer this after watching a year of demonisation by the Clark Government, but is there really something wrong with talking to the Brethren? Or constituents? Or business groups? Or donors? When did association with either business or Brethren or making a donation to a political party or releasing an anti-Labour or anti-Greens pamphlet become so demonised, so evil inand of itself, that we need -- as a matter of intense public interest --to see and hear all the private communications about these activities?

What's wrong with criticising all the lies and spin and just complete nonsense that appears right out there in the open and is made and lapped up everyday, like for example the very demonisation of those groups Hater says Brash has been talking to, or much of what appeared on the front page of the Herald today, or on the front page of the Sunday Star Times most weekends?

Or is Nicky Hager just used to shadows himself?

By the way, and to conclude: Having mentioned the Sunday Star Times and Hicky Nager in the same opinion piece, I can't now fail to mention the opinion of Justice Neazor of the worth of their collaboration over the "revelation" of of the SIS bugging Tariana Turia -- "a work of fiction" Justice Neazor called it after a thorough investigation. As I said back then:
Good advice might be to remember this finding next time you read a story written
by either Nicky Hager or Anthony Hubbard and as Justice Neazor suggests, just file it under fiction.
UPDATE: Just to remind of previous 'Hagerings' NBR has a roll call of those previously 'Hagered,' from the SIS to the SAS to Timberlands West Coast to Helen Clark herself.

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-National, Nonsense

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Offline: iHug and PC

As you've probably heard, iHug's broadband customers are all offline today. And as you might have realised by now, I am one of those customers. Bugger.

If iHug comes back online later this afternoon, I will try and post something substantial.

If not, then try and enjoy yourselves without me.

Manhattan Sports Stadium - Frank Lloyd Wright


New sports pavilion for New York's Belmont Park Raceway, 1956. The sketch claims 90,000 heated seats in a project described by Wright in this way:
A massive slab, with four levels reached by twelve or sixteen escalators (Depending on size of stand), covered by a translucent plastic roof, suspended on a lacework of slender tensile cables.
(Unfortunately the sketch in my book scanned here crosses two pages, and my own skills with Photoshop are insufficient to remedy the line down the middle. Any volunteers ?)

RELATED: Architecture, Stadium

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

Tigers in both India and China have been under threat for years. In China, Mao wanted them wiped out and encouraged people to kill them (presumably when they themselves weren't being killed by the Red Guard); after Mao, tigers became highly valued for their body parts, particularly tiger bones which are apparently highly valued for the treatment of arthritis, and protection was applied to tigers. The result was the opposite of that hoped for: the numbers plummeted even faster. India too tried protection: thirty years ago they launched Project Tiger, "the most high-profile conservation program in the world" to conserve remaining tigers. The numbers continued to plummet.

In both India and China the results were the same: Tiger numbers plummeted in both China and India during periods of both hunting and of protection. Hunt them and their numbers plummet. Protect them, and the numbers still plummet. They plummeted in China right down to just 20 or 30 left alive at the lowest point. The reason is that 'protection' raised the value of tigers to poachers, so much so that it was worth the risk to kill them, while ensuring that the value could only be enjoyed by the poachers.

Now, a different solution is being mooted. As noted by the chaps at Cafe Heyek, "Barun Mitra, the vastly talented head of India's Liberty Institute, has this splendid op-ed in today's New York Times. In it, Barun proposes that the best way to keep tigers from going extinct is to allow them to be owned and traded -- that is, objects of commerce."

And in fact, that's what is currently happening in China, with the result that the 20 or 30 have now become 3,000-4,000.

* You can read Mitra's op-ed here (if you have an NY Times sub): Sell the Tiger to Save it
* You can read Mitra's report here at PERC: Saving the Tiger: China and India Move in Radically Different Directions. (See also, PERC's Special Report: Who Will Save the Wild Tiger? by Michael Sas-Rolfes)
* And you can read a short summary of Mitra's op-ed here at Cafe Hayek: Roaring Applause for this Proposal. It begins:
...like forests, animals are renewable resources. If you think of tigers as products, it becomes clear that demand provides opportunity, rather than posing a threat. For instance, there are perhaps 1.5 billion head of cattle and buffalo and 2 billion goats and sheep in the world today. These are among the most exploited of animals, yet they are not in danger of dying out; there is incentive, in these instances, for humans to conserve. So it can be for the tiger. In pragmatic terms, this is an extremely valuable animal.
Read on here. As Professor Graham Webb says of this form of 'economic conseravtion,' if you want to protect wildlife for people who value them, then those who live with the animals need to be able to extract some value. In short, conservationists need to recognise the property rights of those who host the wildlife they want protected.
...An increasing body of conservationists believe local people should not be treated as the enemy of conservation (Hutton and Dickson 2000). They should be active partners, at the frontline. To achieve and sustain this, they need to receive tangible, sustainable benefits for their efforts. In most cases, the only sustainable way of providing those benefits is through using wildlife for economic gain. That is, conservation through sustainable use (CSU).
You can find an opposing view here.

RELATED: Conservation, Politics-World, Economics

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Age of independence

The case of the sixteen-year-old who divorced her parents has attracted much interest, and to my mind it shows again how to resolve the various debates over the drinking age, the driving age, the age of consent, the voting age, the age of majority, etc, etc.

Why not just wrap them all up and have one age at which one becomes an independent adult able to make decisions for oneself and to take responsibility for them? The issue is of particular importance to libertarians, since we have to constantly point out that all acts between consenting adults are the business of nobody but those consenting adults -- but at what age does one become a consenting adult? When exactly and in law does one reach the age of independence?

The Libertarianz's proposed Constitution for New Freeland has a simple answer:
The age of independence shall be deemed by law, but the courts may deem an earlier age on application of the child, if the child can demonstrate its independence.
It's a bright line that of necessity is somewhat nominal, but which allows those who wish to be considered as an independent adult to make a claim for that status -- and it allows those who know reasons why they shouldn't be granted that boon the opportunity to point out the reasons why not.

LINK: Constitution for New Freeland - Article 1: Bill of Rights - Free Radical

RELATED: Law, Libertarianism, Politics-NZ,

"Ports of Auckland has yet to see any feasible proposition..."

Ports of Auckland's Geoff Vasey told Mike Hosking this morning that "Ports has yet to see any feasible proposition" to create alternatives if the waterfront stadium takes their existing facilities. It will "take some time to build alternative facilities," he says, and of course any work on a waterfront stadium can only begin once those alternative facilities are built and moved into.

And there's no plan for that.

Where, I wonder, is the 'vision'?

Meanwhile Mike Lee, chair of the Auckland Regional Council (a politician) says it is "a major concern," however the advice he has received from Mallard's advisors is "the concerns the Ports of Auckland have can be met." Who would you believe?

UPDATE: Ports of Auckland issued a press release today clarifying the extent to which they need clarification, and the failure to address their genuine concerns for NZ's largest working port.

LINK: Port co says stadium brings problems - Newstalk ZB [Audio]
ARC considers Ports issue for stadium - Newstalk ZB [Audio]

RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland

Stadium drawings deceptive

Union House on Quay Street measures just under 44m high to the top of the braced frame, with an interstorey height of 3.4m. That's a dimensioned elevation of it at left, and in the picture below it's the white building in the foreground with diagonal braces, pictured just to the right of the stadium. (See it also in the picture at right.)

Do you think the stadium in the picture below (one of the suite of officially released drawings of the proposal [pdf]) has been drawn to a height of just two floors below the top of Union House's structural frame?

And if not, why do you think it hasn't been?

UPDATE 1: Robin from RobiNZ CAD Blog has put together a model with Architectural Desktop and Google Earth, just to see what the height really looks like and how dominant the thing is when drawn to its actual, stated height. See the results below (Union House, used as a datum, is shown red). The top picture is from the same viewpoint as the presentation drawing above so you can easily compare the two. It seems that stadium architects Warren and Mahoney have been using more than a little airbrush...

Now, why do you think they would do that? What does it mean when they have to lie to convince you?

UPDATE 2: Whale Oil has a post on the same subject, showing approximately a 7m discrepancy between the stated height of the stadium and the height shown in the official presentation sketches.

UPDATE 3: Bear in mind that the waterfront stadium proposal includes provision to extend Bledisloe Wharf by a further 65m closer to Devonport. Extend it too much further and we'll be presented with our second harbour crossing...

UPDATE 4: "A source" tells me that "the graphic artists were told by the architects to use 34 metres, which kinda means they cheated on purpose." Looks that way, doesn't it. [Removed because "the source of the source" says this isn't what he said.]

UPDATE 5: David Slack has an account of last night's Devonport meeting to oppose the waterfront stadium. And he has a prediction:
The ACC vote will only establish whether they will be willingly giving up their ratepayers' wallets. The whole thing will turn on how the ARC decide to lay their bets, looking at the Ports on one side and the Government on the other. I predict they will try to push the Government into making the IRB or NZRFU dig deep to come up with an 80 million dollar resolution of the 12,000-odd seat shortage for the final. They'll propose that we do something splendid on the Tank Farm in due course, without suspending the RMA and democratic process and call it a National Stadium. This stadium would be funded by the government rather then the people of Auckland. That's the way they do it with 'National' buildings in Wellington.
UPDATE 6: Photo of Union House added, and extent of dimensions clarified in the text.

UPDATE 7: Pics below of stadium bulk from Quay St East (top) and Quay St West (below) using Robin's Architectural Desktop sketch over Google Earth (click on the pics for a larger image). That's Union House in red (used as the datum) and the Ferry Building shown in yellow. The stadium is unfortunately shown in sea green...


UPDATE 8: Den has supplied a far better screen grab of the official stadium pictures showing the relationship between proposed stadium and Union House, which we've been using for our datum, so you can much easier answer the question posed initially, ie.: has the stadium in the picture below (one of the suite of officially released drawings of the proposal [pdf]) been drawn to a height of just two floors below the top of Union House's structural frame:
Your call.

RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland

The Bathing Hour, Valencia - Joaquín Sorolla

Joaquín Sorolla
The Bathing Hour, Valencia, 1909
Oil on canvas. 150 x 150.5 cm
Fundación Museo Sorolla, Madrid

From an exhibition showing the work of both Joaquín Sorolla and John Singer Sargent, with whom Sorolla has been compared. [Hat tip Jeff Perren]

Just beautiful.

RELATED: Art.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Values and politics

"Bad politics is a consequence of bad societal values, not a cause. Politicians simply mimic and purvey what society demands."

Discuss.

RELATED: Politics, Ethics, Objectivism

Brash still leads Nats...

The Kiwi Herald cracked me up again this morning:
KIWI HERALD: Brash Still Leads Nats, Moore PM New Zealanders awoke this morning to the startling news that Don Brash is still the leader of the National Party..."Lets face it," said Mr Lush, "By my count, the coup against Don Brash has been announced 373 times by media in the past seventeen weeks and the wiley old bugger is still there. The gap between forecast and fact is leading to a real crisis of confidence in the fourth estate."
Hilarious.

RELATED: Humour, Politics-NZ

"Faith is as evil as smallpox"

A British Christian organisation commissioned a survey testing public perception of some of Richard Dawkins's more "confrontational" statements from his book 'The God Delusion,' and had the balls to release this result: "42% think faith is as evil as smallpox."

If you have a look at history, you'll see that they're right. Or just think about what Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

LINKS: 42% think faith is as evil as smallpox - UK Polling Report
Learning from history - Not PC (April, 2006)

RELATED: Religion, Politics-UK, Philosophy, Ethics, History, Cartoons

Burkas, bans and bigots -- and free speech

Phil Howison has a brief look at the decisions to ban burkas in Holland and to acquit bigots in the UK, and he sees a parallel.

First, the bigots. Head honchos from the British National Party (right), kind of like NZ First with steroids and streetfighters, have been acquitted on charges of "stirring up racial hatred," not because they didn't try to stir up racial hatred -- "Let's show these ethnics the door in 2004," said one -- but because the judge hearing the case has a laudable but increasingly unfashionable respect for free speech:
Summing up, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones, QC, said: "This case is not about whether the political beliefs of the BNP are right or wrong. It's not about whether assertions made about Islam are right or wrong."

He added: "We live in a democratic society which jealously protects the rights of its citizens to freedom of expression, to free speech. It extends to the unpopular, to those which many people may find unacceptable, unpalatable and sensitive."

Exactly right. Bravo Judge Jones! If you have no right to offend, then you have no right to free speech. So what's the problem? The problem is Gordon Brown. If the current laws don't allow a conviction, and they're chilling enough, then PM-in-waiting Gordon Brown suggests changing the laws to make them even more suffocating. Chilling indeed.

And what of the burka ban? There is a difference, one that sadly escapes too many, between between being outraged by something (as I posted here: "Cultures are not of equal value: prosperity is superior to poverty, happiness is superior to misery, freedom is superior to slavery, and a visible face is superior to a slit revealing two anonymous eyes") and calling for that thing to be banned. The two things do not relate. As Phil concludes:
It will be impossible to mount a principled defense of Western civilization unless its defenders understand the Western principles of individual rights and tolerance.
And he's right, isn't he. You have a right to offend. You have a right to wear what you want. And we all have the right to disagree on that. But you have no right -- none at all -- have that with which you disagree banned.

LINKS: Islam, anti-Islam and freedom - Pacific Empire
BNP verdict ‘may change race laws’ -- Scotsman
Burka ban in the Netherlands? --FP Passport
Free Speech glossary -- Free Speech
The dance of the long black veil - Not PC (October, 2006)

RELATED: Politics-UK, Multiculturalism, Religion, Political Correctness
, Politics-World, Free Speech

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stadium for sale

There's a second-hand reconvertible stadium for sale at Trade Me. Needs cleaning. Be quick.

UPDATE: Do make sure you check out the Questions and Answers on this auction. The vendor seems to have taken lessons from Bernard Darnton.

RELATED:
Stadium, Politics-NZ,

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"No!" to waterfront stadium

Blogging this afternoon's public meeting co-hosted by Keith Locke and Rodney Hide to oppose Mallard's waterfront stadium: the meeting ended with a unanimous vote against the proposal.

It's not often I go to a 300-strong public meeting on a political hot potato and don't heckle -- or don't need to. It's even less often that I would be found applauding (loudly) Keith Locke, Rodney Hide, John Minto, several Auckland City Councillors and the architect of Wellington's Te Papa (in fact, I can assure you it's never happened before).

Today, however, was that day.

On the simple issue of saying "No" to Trevor Mallard's Auckland waterfront stadium, there was no need to heckle and every reason to applaud since at this afternoon 's meeting to oppose the stadium, all spoke in opposition to the waterfront stadum, and all made perfect sense -- and over the course of a two-hour meeting, they were joined by several other speakers who also made perfect sense across a surprising similarity of themes: the lack of information, and the lying about the information given; a government intent on railroading this thing through; the outright inability for a project like this to fit that site; the enormous cost both for the stadium and for the moving of the port facilities; Here's a brief summary of what the main speakers said, who where:
  • Keith Locke: The decision-making in evidence here is an affront to democracy; the proposal undermines what has been happening to open up the waterfront; there is no evidence for it invigorating the CBD as claimed; it will be a huge economic cost; there is no specific design here, just a sketch on a piece of paper. Right on all five.
  • Dianne Brand, from the Auckland Architecture School, and member of Dick Hubbard's 'Urban Design Panel': Theatre and stadium design, she says, is commercially all about bums on seats. Architecturally, this stadium as designed is "all bum, from all directions." It is "disproportionately large" for that site -- and evidence offered later in the meeting is that the few drawings released distort the scale to hide the real size; and in an effort to make the thing fit, it has over the last week been given "the tutu treatment": a man-made beach to the north, in the middle of the commercial shipping lanes (as one wag said later, something only a Wellington architect would propose), and a "commercially unviable western park." It doesn't fit. At all.
  • Architect Pete Bossley: Bossley, responsible for Te Papa, told the meeting he and others have repeatedly asked to see the reports on urban design issues for the stadium. "We've asked. They haven't been done." No examination has been done on issues of wind, scale, transport. The stadium is out of all proportion for the site (and he would know). It buries the finger wharves that could eventually be usedThe architectural effect of the stadium needs to be considered when empty, with all the lights off, just as it will be for ninety-five percent of the time, not as the pretty pictures show it bathed in a halo of light.
  • Lynette Wells (hotel industry): pointed out the iniquity of the proposed method of funding, that is, the bed tax and the airport tax. There is "alarm" within her industry at what this would do to tourism; tax and ratepayers should be alarmed at the price, and the potential for other councils to levy similar taxes in their areas if this is approved; the hotel industry is "vehemently opposed" to both.
  • Cathy Casey (Auckland City Councillor): Councillors, who are expected to make a decision on this with two weeks, "have been treated like mushrooms -- kept in the dark and fed with shit." The Herald this morning is "lying," she said, when they reported "Councillors in shock stadium u-turn " on the waterfront stadium. "There has been no such U-turn. [Herald journalist] Janet Savage made that up." A Press Council complaint is being prepared. Casey later supplied a list of the councillors and where they stand (see below). Five against the bedpan, eight for, and eight 'floating' councillors.
  • Christine Caughey (Auckland City Councillor): The stadium is an affront to the process being worked through by Auckland City to open up the waterfront. Submissions have repeatedly shown, for example, that people want viewshafts opened up to the Hauraki Gulf islands. Councillors have been "ambushed by the Minister." They have asked for a firm design ... there is none. For evidence on costings ... there is none. For evidence of urban design analysis, or transport studies, or economic impact reports ... there are none.
  • Robyn Hughes (ARC councillor): The ARC owns the port, not the government. She does not want "a giant used condom" down there. Speaking to me before the meeting, Hughes confirmed to me that the proposal presently on the table for moving the port is to extend Bledisloe Wharf into the harbour by another 65m (that's half a rugby field).
  • Tessa Duder (author and historian): Duder talked of quotes she had found describing the site of Auckland, and compared them to what is proposed. [I remember architect Claude Megson, for example, talking about the Auckland as one thin strip of land hung suspended between the sparkling waters of two harbours, and anchored by two sets of hills to east and west.] The imagery of what has been proposed "is seen from flattering angles, is doctored and dishonest," (on that, see below). "That gently glowing, translucent, floating white cloud will certainly be a 10 to 12-storey wall along much of Quay St - a monstrous, cancerous protrusion into the harbour." With what is proposed for the edge of those sparkling waters, she would no longer look forward to taking her guests and grandchildren up Mt Eden and North Head since she couldn't explain to them how such a monstrosity could have been built; "I will have difficulty holding back my tears."
  • Waterfront resident Susan Grimsdale: Received assurances from council when buying her apartment that there was an 18m height limit for ports area -- stadium sketch is said to be 37m (about twelve stories). BUT: the presentation pictures (see right) are a lie. The light standard to the right of the stadium in the picture to the right is 30m high, but the stadium is shown lower. "This is pure deception" [something, as we know, that is not unfamiliar to Mallard]. "Think Big" in a different guise. [Check back later for a properly-scaled sketch of the stadium based on released information.]
  • John Minto [yes, that John Minto]: "Trevor Mallard accuses Auckland of "a lack of vision." But when you see Trevor Mallard, so you see "vision"?" When NZ won the 2011 World Cup, it was based on spending $45m for temporary stands to increase the capacity of Eden Park. As a resident, Minto is all in favour of that proposal. And as he pointed out, Mallard has told schools they need to run cake stalls to fund any extras at their schools. "Why doesn't the Eden Park Trust Board start baking cakes to raise their $45m?" [Why not, indeed?]
  • Steve [?] Bagley (Auckland Rugby Union): ARU will lose $20m over the World Cup. Waterfront Stadium estimates are "dishonest," he says. Eden Park is costed on $9,000 per seat, which is consistent with the costs of the last eleven stadiums to be built in this part of the world. Waterfront Stadium costed at just $6,000 per seat, plus the plattform and piling, plus the cost of removing the port operations [including extending Bledisloe Wharf by 65m]. Think one billion. At least.
  • David Thornton (No More Rates): Three questions still not answered, but we can all guesstimate for ourselves what the answers will be: How much will it cost? At least one billion. Who pays? Us. Who will own it, and who will pay the operating losses? Er ...
  • Bill Hodge (constitutional law specialist): Four main legal issues with the ramming through of the waterfront stadium with enabling legislation that are going to cause "immense damage to our constitutional fabric." 1. The common law issues of tort, nuisance etc. that are to be overridden without consultation. 2. The overriding, without consultation, of statutory controls on nuisance, eg, the RMA. 3. The overriding, without consultation, of commercial legislation, such as the Local Government Act, the Port Companies Act and the Public Finance Act. 4. The overriding, without consultation, of Treaty of Waitangi issues. The Government's answer for all four sets of issues is clear: Enabling legislation in the same form as the Thing Big legislation of 1982 for the Clyde Dam that overrides the Local Government Act, the Resource Management Act, the Public Finance Act, the Port Companies Act and others. And therein lies a lesson for any politicians voting in favour of the 2006 version: they should remember what happened to Social Credit, who decided to vote for Muldoon's Thing Big legislation, and were deservedly buried by the voters.
  • Rodney Hide (ACT leader): From discussion with Mallard, Mallard has confirmed that for the waterfront stadium to go ahead: 1. he needs a majority from both the Auckland Regional Council and the Auckland City Council (so get those letters, emails and phone calls out to those councillors); 2. he needs the National Party to agree on the Bed Tax, on Enabling Legislation, and on a Kafka-esque Consent Authority to rubber stamp a consent that overrides all the legislative protections outlined by Bill Hodge (so get those emails, letters and phone calls out to all the National MPs, and tell them you don't want a billion dollars of your money wasted on a Monument to Mallard).
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Auckland City Council will meet Thursday night to vote on their decision. Auckland Regional Council will meet Friday. Lobbying of National Party MPs will be undertaken all week (look out for deals being done this week). You have just one week to sway the argument.

A PUBLIC PROTEST is organised for AOTEA SQUARE Thursday lunchtime, 12:30pm, in advance of the Auckland City Council vote. Get on down there.

Cathey Casey issued a list of the eight "floating" Auckland City councillors who need to hear from you: Leila Boyle cr.boyle@aucklandcity.govt.nz, Bill Christian cr.christian@aucklandcity.govt.nz, Glenda Fryer cr.fryer@aucklandcity.govt.nz, John Hinchcliffe cr.hinchcliff@aucklandcity.govt.nz, Toni Miller cr.millar@aucklandcity.govt.nz, Penny Sefuiva cr.sefuiva@aucklandcity.govt.nz, Faye Storer cr.storer@aucklandcity.govt.nz, Bruce Hucker cr.hucker@aucklandcity.govt.nz.

Here are the addresses for the Auckland Regional Councillors who need to hear from you: dianne.glenn@arc.govt.nz; christine.rose@arc.govt.nz;
sandra.coney@arc.govt.nz; hoadley.consultants@xtra.co.nz; mbarnett@chamber.co.nz; david@khh.co.nz; bill.burrill@arc.govt.nz; robyn.hughes@arc.govt.nz; craig.little@arc.govt.nz; joelc@kiwilink.co.nz.

Auckland's mayors: Bob.Harvey@waitakere.govt.nz; George.Wood@northshorecity.govt.nz;
contactus@manukau.govt.nz; mayor@aucklandcity.govt.nz.

Auckland's MPs, and those who are (or should be) taking an interest: tmallard@ministers.govt.nz; mcullen@ministers.govt.nz;
pm@ministers.govt.nz; judith.tizard@parliament.govt.nz; don.brash@national.org.nz;
murray.mccully@national.org.nz; jonathan.coleman@parliament.govt.nz; john.key@parliament.govt.nz; wayne.mapp@parliament.govt.nz; clem.simich@parliament.govt.nz;
peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz; wpeters@ministers.govt.nz; ; jeanette.fitzsimons@parliament.govt.nz; pita.sharples@parliament.govt.nz.

And you can contact all the National Party MPs here to discourage them NOT to support either enabling legislation to override existing law, or the imposition of any new taxes: www.national.org.nz. (And, if you're keen, download contact details for all 121 MPs here [pdf].) Tell them you'll remember both at the next election.

Get on to it!

UPDATE: Herald has a report of the meeting, and their own story on how Auckland's councillors will be voting. They claim six councillors are floating, as against Cathy Casey's eight: "Two of those yet to decide - Citizens and Ratepayers Now councillors Doug Armstrong and Toni Millar - indicated last night they would support a waterfront stadium if the Government agreed to build it further east, on Bledisloe Wharf." But as Armstrong wasn't on Casey's list of "floaters" (she had him backing Hubbard) and Bledisloe has already been rejected (as Brian Rudman reports) ... They also have Christian and Storer as Eden Park supporters, and Glenda Fryer as a yes, whereas Casey has all three as "floaters."

It's going to be tight.
RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland

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