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    • Neanderthals: 'Truth is we just don’t know - about your songs and dreams ...'
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • Leaving a mark … a colour-enhanced hand stencil from La Pasiega in northern Spain, now dated back 66,700 years. Photograph: Reuters So Neanderthals made abstract art? This astounding discovery humbles every human Scientists say cave paintings in Spain, thought to have been by our ancestors, were actually by Neanderthals. So did they teach us everything we know? https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/feb/23/neanderthals-cave-art-spain-astounding-discovery-humbles-every-human   [Jonathan Jones] But here’s the thing [about proven painting by non-Homo Sapiens]. That Neanderthal hand is the first evidence ever found of another species showing cultural self-consciousness. It’s not so very far from a hand print to a self-portrait to a diary to a novel. This discovery dethrones the modern human mind.  It also means that if, as well as interbreeding with Neanderthals and sharing artistic ideas with them, the first groups of Homo sapiens to enter Europe massacred them and helped make them extinct, it was our fellow thinking beings we were killing. Not just another extinction, but the first genocide. KJWNZ  22 AUGUST 2014 ABSENT ABEL N Sitting awhile in Civic Square I missed you there. I was watching the pigeons and the gulls Hob-knobbing or squawky strutting Waiting for scraps from wraps and squabbling A bobbing beggar crew following Heartless yellow eyed brigands. Two birds jostling in that space But humankind the only race. Forty thousand years ago you watched Barrel-chested and wide-nosed Sniffing us puny newcomers Listening to the keening sounds, That drifted from strange kin. There wasn’t room enough for two We schemed and made an end of you. Our myths about you are unflattering That you were unchattered trolls With quizzical protruding brows Sitting around napping rough tools So dim-witted you built nothing. Now we have the square alone No rivals since you've gone. Truth is we just don’t know About your songs and dreams And what at times you may have seen Your sense of right, your sense of love Wonders at the stars light-stretched above. And we are left to fight each other With hands we bloodied on a distant brother.

    • ... In the long term certainty that those who play music together are not willingly going to fight a war against each other.
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • A MESSAGE FROM MY SHORROCKS SECOND COUSIN Dear Friend,Like many, I try to keep informed about current affairs, while so many times also feeling helpless and frustrated by not being able to do anything about what I read or hear about. But last year I felt I did manage to do something, however small.Over the last 20+ years I have been privileged to be invited abroad to teach and coach music to many different groups and nationalities. Last summer I was invited out to Kosovo and Italy and have been so impressed by this particular project that I have offered to try and raise support for this summer – 2018 – and perhaps beyond.It is rare as a musician that one feels one can intervene in some of the politically stressed parts of the world, and despite following events as far as one can in today’s world seldom can one do anything about it, it seems. This project however is actually trying to do something about the aftermath of events in the Balkans 20 years ago, and my experience of last summer’s course in Kosovo is that it really might be part of the answer. I genuinely felt it was contributing, positively, and that I could be a part of that contribution, and here starts the ask for your support.Imagine this situation: your husband has died of cancer, perhaps because of NATO’s depleted uranium rounds, and you are trying to bring up your son or daughter and enable them to have as normal an upbringing as possible including the chance to learn an instrument. And you are trying to do this on just 200 euros a month. A music course is offered, and it is possible due to it being essentially funded and therefore there is no cost to the participants, and your child is good enough and gets a place. They can join! And meet others from the Balkans and get to know them, in the long term certainty that those who play music together are not willingly going to fight a war against each other.That is the hope of IPSIA, who do many things along these lines around the year. The summer music courses are a part of this wider project that I was involved in and it is for these that I wish to raise money.So if I could please ask you at least to read what is included in the reports and comments, and see the promotional video, and then make your own judgement and perhaps contribute, I would be most grateful. Anything and everything is welcome, and I have set the ambitious target of £50,000 to try and achieve so that it can all happen again this summer. To this end, if this seems to have any worth please also share it with your friends, relations, colleagues etc, and perhaps we can create a positive experience in an otherwise unnecessarily bleak world.Thank you.Tony ShorrocksLiverpool Dear Tony,I would like to say that the IPSIA music project has given me one of the best experiences in my life. (…)About the individual classes I only want to say that you are a magnificent teacher and that I learned a lot, and that the notebook was such a cool idea. The organization was very good. (…) I'm very grateful for the favour they made me. And finally, I want to thank the project and all the teachers for this incredible experience. This is cool not only for the music. It's cool because it gives you the chance to know a beautiful country and incredible people that you wouldn’t have known, and the most important, making music. Carmen Lázaro. Dear professor Tony, It was such a pleasant experience to be a part of the project. I'm still in touch with the people I've met during my stay in Prizren and Forli. The things I've learnt from you and maestro Igor are countless, from orchestral technique to the concept of the pieces that we played. Aside from that, you were great motivators and you have made us young people believe that within ten days we can work as a team and create beautiful music. Personally it was my first experience in a big orchestra and it could've not been better. Simply, it was a part of my life I'll never forget!Yours sincerely ,Irina.Dear Tony,(…)I really had a great time with this project. I learned some new things. I met new people from different places which was amazing because I got to know more about different places and their music schools. It was also a good experience because we went to Italy and for me it was the first time I was in a different State and everything was new to me like the place, the people, the language I also learned new words in different languages. The best reasons why I would like to have more like this project is because you get better in instruments, and you get an experience in other stages than the one in your Country. Also you go in a different State and learn about music with other musicians which is a great feeling because you know that there you can't be judged for what you wear, what you say or anything else, there is you and the instrument nothing else. I hope that there will be another project and I would love to be part of it.Bleona Sinanaj Dear Sir, The IPSIA music project has been an event that will long be remembered.I was very excited right from the moment I found out I would be attending and all the way through to the end. I was met with a very warm welcome and I met many other youngsters as excited as I was. Also, I made many wonderful friends from different countries.The experience and confidence gained is quite significant considering that I trained and played with international professionals but also had the chance to listen to and learn from my peers, and hopefully also the other way around.I'm very grateful to everyone engaged in this project especially to the head of the project, a very special lady, Maria Teresa Indellicati who took care of everything. Many thanks and blessings for my teachers, Ms.Elena Indellicati, Mr. Denis Zardi and Mr. Pierluigi di Tella who helped to me realize my first piano concert with orchestra. This summer was the best summer I've ever had! Respectfully,Vesa Berisha

    • Books to satisfy your Game of Thrones cravings
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Are you missing your Game of Thrones fix while waiting for Season 8 to return in 2019? Then look no further, for we have you covered with these books! The assassin’s apprentice / Robin Hobb. “The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and his is despised.Raised in the castle stables, only the company of the king’s fool, the ragged children of the lower city and his unusual affinity with animals provide Fitz with any comfort.To be useful to the crown, Fitz is trained as an assassin; and to use the traditional magic of the Farseer family. But his tutor, allied to another political faction, is determined to discredit, even kill him. Fitz must survive: for he may be destined to save the kingdom.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) Temeraire / Naomi Novik. “Naomi Novik’s stunning series of novels follow the global adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson’s navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancee, society’s esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to overrun her shores.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The emperor’s blades / Brian Staveley. “In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)   Who fears death / Nnedi Okorafor. “In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different– special –she names her Onyesonwu, which means “Who fears death?” in an ancient language.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) Gardens of the moon : a tale of the Malazan book of the fallen / Steven Erikson. “Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out – and Empress Lasseen’s ambition knows no bounds. However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The traitor Baru Cormorant / Seth Dickinson. “In Seth Dickinson’s highly-anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant , a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The thief / by Megan Whalen Turner. “Eugenides, the queen’s thief, can steal anything–or so he says. When his boasting lands him in prison and the king’s magus invites him on a quest to steal a legendary object, he’s in no position to refuse. The magus thinks he has the right tool for the job, but Gen has plans of his own.Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) Kushiel’s dart / Jacqueline Carey. “A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger… a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm… Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phedre no Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy… and unlikely heroine. But when Phedre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

    • Sky Canvas
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Sky Canvas kicked off in 2015, formed by students of the New Zealand School of Music (and members of the school’s leading jazz orchestra). In their couple of years of existence, they have been writing vibrant original material and piecing together their own take on covers (songs by the likes of Little Dragon, Erykah Badu, Sia etc..). After a string of putting on heavy shows around town (Matterhorn, San Fran, Southern Cross, Rogue & Vagabond, Bodega) and playing shows with visiting acts (from Auckland, Melbourne), Sky Canvas headed into Wellington’s Surgery Studios to record their debut EP. Sky Canvas is: Katelin Little – Vocals  Sam Nakamura – Guitar/Vocals Luther Hunt – Drums/Vocals Fraser Walker – Keyboards/Synthesizers Tyaan Singh – Bass/Saxophone

    • Second Hand Swim Gear Sale: Thursday 8 March
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Raumati Swimming Club
      • The Club is introducing a second hand gear sale to be held a couple of times a year with half of the proceeds going to the Club as a little fundraiser. Great opportunity to resell your quality used swimming gear (outgrown uniform, racing gear, training gear, training aids etc.)! Check your garage, drawers, swim bags Read More... The post Second Hand Swim Gear Sale: Thursday 8 March appeared first on Raumati Raptors Swimming.

    • The Alex Moffat Selection
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • A singer songwriter based in Karori, Wellington.  Influences are  The Blue Nile, Counting Crows and Graham Parker. Alex’s first album is ‘East’. It is a mixture of Pop, Soul and Gospel in an Americana style. Moffat calls it Kiwiana. Second album ‘Archive’ is now available. It is a collection of older recordings and some new ones. It has Pop, Rock, Reggae and even some Gypsy music. Third album ‘Cuckoo’ is under way and will be available mid 2018. Free downloads of all songs are available or you can purchase the album complete.

    • Nga Uri Taniwha
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Mai i te karamatamatatanga o te Remutaka ki Põkai Mangumangu, ki Pareraho, ki Tirohanga, ki Tukutuku, ki Puke Tirotiro, ki Pukeariki, huhū rā te puaha o Te Awakairangi, whakawhiti atu ki Tangi a te Keo tau atu ai ki te moana o Raukawakawa puta mai ai ko Ngā Uri Taniwha.

    • Lisa Tomlins
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Lisa Tomlins has worked with some of the best including Fat Freddys Drop, Rhombus, Shapeshifter, Trinity Roots, The Eggs and many more. 

    • Browse our top picks from this month’s fiction arrivals in our latest newsletter
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • It’s the beginning of a new year and we have selected some fabulous new fiction from our recently received material for your enjoyment. In the ‘Other Genres’ category this month we are highlighting thrillers, which are guaranteed tensely suspenseful reading. Library News Meet Libby: Overdrive’s new eBook & eAudio app Contemporary fiction This month we received new novels from so many brilliant writers it was difficult to select only ten for our Recent Picks selection. We do hope you will explore the complete list and that the three chosen for this newsletter will definitely be a temptation to do so. The hearts of men / Nickolas Butler. “Camp Chippewa, 1962. Thirteen-year-old Nelson, loner and over-achiever, is nicknamed the Bugler as he proudly sounds the reveille each morning. This is the summer that everything changes, marking the beginning of Nelson’s uncertain friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan, and the discovery of his father’s betrayal, which tears his family apart. As time moves on, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and transforms his father’s business. When something unthinkable happens during a visit from Jonathan’s grandson and daughter-in-law, the aftermath tests the depths and the limits of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Future home of the living god : a novel / Louise Erdrich. “Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. For twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant. As society begins to disintegrate, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation. There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women, of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) The threat level remains severe / Rowena Macdonald. “House of Commons secretary Grace has been counting the tea breaks in the same dull job for a decade. Brett, the new boy is on a mission to shake up the dusty backrooms of power and set to collide with Grace. Office life begins to look up when Grace receives some mysterious emails.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Graphic novels As always the graphic novel collection provides readers with a multitude of choice with the variation of narrative, both visual and textual. For this month’s newsletter we have chosen examples of this diversification. Josephine Baker / written by José-Louis Bocquet ; art by Catel Muller ; historical consultant, Jean-Claude Bouillon-Baker. “Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was nineteen years old when she found herself in Paris for the first time in 1925. Overnight, the young American dancer became the idol of the Roaring Twenties, captivating Picasso, Cocteau, Le Corbusier, and Simenon. In the liberating atmosphere of the 1930s, Baker rose to fame as the first black star on the world stage, from London to Vienna, Alexandria to Buenos Aires. After World War II, and her time in the French Resistance, Baker devoted herself to the struggle against racial segregation, publicly battling the humiliations she had for so long suffered personally. A victim of racism throughout her life, Josephine Baker would sing of love and liberty until the day she died.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) On the Camino / Jason. “Northwestern Spain, observed with the eye of an artist, chronicling both the good (people, conversations) and the bad (blisters, bedbugs) he encountered on his journey. Full of quiet incidents, odd encounters, small triumphs, and the occasional setback, On the Camino is the first implicitly autobiographical long-form work by a master cartoonist.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Rise of the dungeon master : Gary Gygax and the creation of D&D / David Kushner and Koren Shadmi. “Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and; Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story. Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game, determining the rules and inventing the signature 20-sided dice. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Mysteries In the selection of new mystery fiction this month there were several translated novels, giving an international flavour to this genre. Readers will enjoy the different cultures and societies represented in each mystery. A great way to enjoy armchair travel, providing the suspense and tension is not too disturbing. The girl in the fog / Donato Carrisi ; translated by Howard Curtis. “A man is arrested in the small town of Avechot. His shirt is covered in blood. Could this have anything to do with a missing girl called Anna Lou? What really happened to the girl? Detective Vogel will do anything to solve the mystery surrounding Anna Lou’s disappearance. When a media storm hits the quiet town, Vogel is sure that the suspect will be flushed out. Yet the clues are confusing, perhaps false, and following them may be a far cry from discovering the truth at the heart of a dark town.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Madness treads lightly / Polina Dashkova ; translated by Marian Schwartz. “As a working mother, Lena Polyanskaya has her hands full. She’s busy caring for her two-year-old daughter, editing a successful magazine, and supporting her husband, a high-ranking colonel in counterintelligence. She doesn’t have time to play amateur detective. But when a close friend’s suspicious death is labeled a suicide, she’s determined to prove he wouldn’t have taken his own life. As Lena digs in to her investigation, all clues point to murder and its connection to a string of grisly cold-case homicides that stretches back to the Soviet era. When another person in her circle becomes a victim, Lena fears she and her family may be next. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to protect them. But will learning the truth unmask a killer or put her and her family in even more danger?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) The Anthill murders / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson. “1972. Across Oslo, a serial killer is hunting down young women. Each body found strangled and with a peculiar calling-card placed upon her body: a cut-out picture of an ant. The first victim is a timid theology student, the next a jazz singer, followed by the heir to one of the largest fortunes in Oslo. But despite Inspector K2’s best efforts to find a link, the only thing connecting them seems to be their murder. With assistant Patricia’s intellect put to the test and increasing pressure from his boss as the clock ticks down to the next possible killing, K2 is in danger of losing his position as Oslo’s leading homicide detective.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Science fiction/fantasy The selection from our new science fiction and fantasy novels included several that were dystopian themed, and several novels that had immediate problems facing the world woven into the plots, such as global warming, animal rights and pandemics. The city of brass / S. A. Chakraborty. “Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by, palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing, are all tricks. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale about Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. When Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Beacon 23 / Hugh Howey. “For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job and a thankless one for the most part, until something goes wrong, until a ship is in distress. In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren’t supposed to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Dogs of war / Adrian Tchaikovsky. “My name is Rex. I am a good dog. Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he’s got to kill a lot of enemies. But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Other genres This is another month featuring New Zealand writers in our ‘Other Genre’ category. Hopefully this is an indication that New Zealand writing and publishing is flourishing. Almost all genres are represented, from historical fiction to mysteries and short stories, and with a New Zealand flavour. Soldier’s son / by Ian Dodds. “David sees his father’s World War II 2 ex-soldier macho behavior as being destructive and abusive. When his father gives up alcohol he sees that he could change himself too, and be a more sensitive man than his father has been. When he goes to Teachers College the seventies feminist wave is filtered through his feminist friends. This results in giving him the tools he needed to be the kind of father he wished he’d always had earlier in his life enabling him to be in tune with the roles of husband and father.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary) Salt picnic / Patrick Evans. “All the time on the island there had been something she was looking for. She knew she had to keep this in mind, and that she’d know what it was when she found it, whatever it proved to be. It’s 1956 and Iola arrives on the island of Ibiza, on the fringes of Franco’s Spain, with little more than a Spanish phrasebook. Soon she meets a fascinating American photographer who falls in and out of focus: is he really a photographer, and who exactly is the German doctor he keeps asking her about? The mysterious doctor, when he appears, takes Iola for a picnic on a salt island, where she learns how easily the world can be obscured.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Baby / Annaleese Jochems “Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen when her bootcamp instructor, the striking Anahera, suggests they run away together. With stolen money and a dog in tow they buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But there is an intruder waiting to upset Cynthia’s plans and when a trip to an island utopia goes horribly wrong, a rot sets in on their relationship.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more

    • Land Taxation: 'Do Not Forsake Me ...'
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • STILL FIGHTING FOR A TAX ON WINDFALL GAINS I was interested to read this morning that the UK Labour Party is seriously considering introducing a Land Tax on the economic rents that arise and accrue to private property holders from public expenditure on infrastructure, artificially manipulated low interest rates, chronic housing sector under-investment, and irrational exuberance in the property sector: Labour says land value tax would boost local government budgets John McDonnell says funding crisis in local services may have opened window of opportunity https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/22/labour-says-land-value-tax-would-boost-local-government-budgets As the governing NZ Labour Party is about to embark on yet another Tax Review, surely it should give very serious consideration to the policy proposed by its sister party in the UK?  The tax would be directly related to the unearned wealth of the homeowner and it would capture the rapid growth in house values that have been a financial boost to those who own property. It would be progressive and income and wealth redistributive - What More Can You Ask? My post of 16 February 2010 TAX OPTION HIGH NOON – LAND VERSUS FLAT RATE New Zealand has recently undertaken a comprehensive review of the merits of different types of taxes and the advantages of different combinations of taxes (or tax regimes). The Tax Working Group members included the Chairman of the Reserve Bank Arthur Grimes and Gareth Morgan, an independent economic forecaster and investment adviser. I have been entertained by their mutual pursuit of hobby horses and their sotto voce feuding (or as we have in NZ English 'their stoush'). First of all let’s talk about Arthur’s Tax on the Unimproved Value of Land. TAXING THE UNIMPROVED VALUE OF LAND The New Zealand story can be gleaned from various reports in the Dominion Post: ‘Taxing the unimproved value of land excluding buildings and other developments is seen as an effective lever to raise revenue and damp down a resurgence in house prices without creating too many distortions. A capital gains tax is widely considered too politically charged and a full property tax could act as a disincentive to invest. But a land tax could cause a small one-off drop in values and hit the elderly, Maori and farmers the hardest. The average residential land value is $214,000. In Wellington City it is $250,000, Lower Hutt $200,000, Christchurch $188,000, Hawke's Bay $100,000 and Manawatu $110,000. A land tax of 0.1 per cent, cited as a possible rate for discussion by sources close to the tax group, could raise more than $460 million enough to fund a cut from 38 cents to 33 cents in the top personal rate. Economist (and Reserve Bank chairman) Arthur Grimes has presented a full set of how a land tax could work. Bits of it have some attractions: the economic modelling suggests such a tax would, firstly, widen the tax net because it would hit property investors and also offshore landowners who buy land in New Zealand but who don't pay any New Zealand tax, unless they buy something when they visit and contribute to the GST take. Grimes' model also suggests exempting property priced lower than $50,000 a hectare: that would in effect exempt most farms, forestry, and Department of Conservation and Maori land. The other aspect is the built-in assumption is that land values are currently unrealistically high and that this means they not only should but will come down, and that a land tax will give them a nudge in that direction. Land values could fall just under 17% if a 1% land tax is introduced, according to his calculations. The other assumption is that when they do so, landlords will drop their rents to reflect the drop in property value. New Zealand has of course had a land tax before. Brought in by the Liberal government in the 1890s as a tax on the "unearned increment" of land values, various exemptions were applied once the farmer-dominated Reform governments took over form 1912 and the tax was gradually whittled away with more and more exemptions. When it was finally abolished in 1990 it was costing more to collect than it was actually collecting. It also has the advantage that it moves the taxation system more towards taxing things which cannot run away - unlike things like capital and income. The Treasury is rather keen on this. What are the possible downsides? They are more political than technical, and they are more to do with a possible opposite effect to what happened the last time we had such a tax. That is, starting a land tax with exemptions may well see those exemptions wound back. It is not too difficult to see a future revenue-strapped Labour government extending a land tax to include farms - which are of course usually owned by people who tend not to be big Labour voters. It is also not impossible to see a scenario where this could become a deal maker and breaker in any future governing arrangement with the Maori Party, which would want to see Maori land exempt. So even any land tax which exempts farmers is still likely to make them jittery'. Apparently the land tax idea has now been ruled out by the Government. The unashamedly brilliant Dr Gareth Morgan has welcomed the Government ruling out a land tax – and paid the Chairman of the Reserve Bank a less than fulsome compliment – terming it in an avowedly ‘fair and balanced’ assessment, a "dumb idea". THE THEORY OF LAND TAXATION The justification for a tax on the unearned increment in land values goes back to such early economists as Ricardo and von Thunen. Both of them developed the concept of economic rent – Ricardo as it applies to differentials in land fertility, and von Thunen as it applies to differentials in market access. Economic rent is defined as the relative difference between the surplus earned on normal land use (e.g. wheat cultivation using standard techniques) - across different soils and locations - after other inputs or ‘factors of production’ have been rewarded at their general level (or in economic jargon ‘their opportunity cost’). The inputs can include a return on entrepreneurial energy and a normal return on risk. The residual was assumed by Ricardo to result from the ‘inherent powers of the soil’ in the case of wheat cultivation. However, Ricardo recognized that economic rents were not static. They rose and fell, and he correctly deduced that: ‘the price of wheat is not high because the price of land is high – rather the price of land is high because the price of wheat is high’. That is, the overall level of economic rents is a function of the overall level of economic activity in the economy. This suggests that society may have a claim on at least part of the surplus or ‘economic rent’ because it does not stem from the activities of individual businessmen or land developers but from the wider economic successes of society (and from the growth of particular towns and settlements in the case of unimproved, developer’s land for housing). The initial proponent of such a land tax was the US economist Henry George who argued in the 19th Century that while nationalization of land would make sense, taxing its unimproved value would be less disruptive and controversial in a country where land titles have already been granted to individuals. The big gap in the theory, as it could be currently applied, was its lack of attention to the impact of low interest rates and excess liquidity on land and housing prices. But it scores well when these issues are factored in. When money is cheap, asset values appreciate. And when, as they are doing, the Chinese run simultaneous enormous trade and savings surpluses, the knock-on effect is to flood the world with easy money. And if, as a banker, you want to lend out this money at reduced risk, what better than lending on housing bricks and mortar or development land itself? This led western homeowners and developers to bid up the price of assets held by their fellow countrymen – and the housing bubble grew apace. It would therefore seem to make even greater sense to tax the unearned increment from escalating property prices to: 1. skim off a share of the ‘returns to cheap money’ for society as a whole 2. moderate ballooning bubbles 3. divert investment funds to potentially more productive forms of economic activity. So basically I agree with Arthur Grimes (and it turns out with Adam Smith and Milton Friedman as well). GARETH’S BIG KAHUNA Returning to the newspaper reports: ‘Maverick economist Gareth Morgan's ideas have received quite a bit of media attention. If you missed it, Morgan proposed a flat income tax at 25%; a comprehensive capital tax on all land, buildings, plant and machinery investment, and a $10,000 guaranteed minimum income which would replace all benefits. In effect, he told the conference, the first $40,000 - not far below the average annual wage - would be tax-free. The chances of finding out if Morgan's proposals would work are not high; for all that, they were presented with his usual panache and made more than a few headlines. Conversion of the nation's dairy farms to supply the world with cannabis is about as likely. From the floor of the conference (on Tax Policy), the ideas were treated almost as a bit of light relief’. However, this has not stopped Gareth from hammering home the advantages of a single rate income taxation system (including negative income tax for low wage earners) with an extensive recent article in the NZ Listener magazine. He calls ‘his’ idea the ‘Big Kahuna’ after, it seems its use in the Beach Party films of the 1960s such as Beach Blanket Bingo, where the "Big Kahuna" was the best surfer on the beach. Originally a kahuna in the Hawaiian language was a "Priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession” (Gareth himself?). Incidentally, the word kahuna shares a common Polynesian origin and meaning with the Maori word ‘tohunga’, so maybe he should have talked about the “Big Tohunga”. THE THEORY OF NEGATIVE INCOME TAX Quoting Wikipedia (as Gareth appears to have done though he discarded the empirical evidence and provisos): ‘In economics, a negative income tax (abbreviated NIT) is a progressive income tax system where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government. Such a system has been discussed by economists but never fully implemented. It was developed by British politician Juliet Rhys-Williams in the 1940s and later by United States economist Milton Friedman in 1962 in Capitalism and Freedom. Negative income taxes can implement a basic income or supplement a guaranteed minimum income system. In a negative income tax system, people earning a certain income level would owe no taxes; those earning more than that would pay a proportion of their income above that level; and those below that level would receive a payment of a proportion of their shortfall, which is the amount their income falls below that level. Typically, this is proposed to be implemented as a flat tax combined with a fixed government payment. For example, if the flat tax rate is 25% and a government payment of $10,000, then: A person earning $40,000 per year would be at the break-even point. They pay no taxes, because their tax payment equals their government payment. A person earning $1,000,000 would pay close to the full 25% tax, as the government payment would be negligible as compared to the $250,000 in tax payments. A person earning only $4,000 per year would pay $1,000 in taxes but receive $10,000 in payment, for a net income of $13,000, or $9,000 in net government payments. The net payment is 25% of the difference between their income and the break-even income’. GENERAL WELFARE EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE INCOME TAX (NIT) ‘A negative income tax is intended to create a single system that would not only pay for government, but would also fulfill the social goal of making sure that there was a minimum level of income for all. An NIT does not disrupt low-wage markets, whereas a minimum wage makes certain very low end jobs impossible (completely unemploying those whose labour would be valued slightly less than the minimum). Intervention programmes create perverse incentives, as when a minimum wage worker who earns a little more nets out with less income because he is newly ineligible for aid. This then discourages low-wage workers from seeking higher-paying employment, and is known as the welfare trap. A worker under a NIT always gets the same portion of each marginal dollar earned, so there is always an equal incentive to work. A universal and singular negative income tax would reduce administrative overheads, since the large bureaucracies responsible for administering taxation and welfare systems could be eliminated. The resources saved by eliminating these bureaucracies could then be spent on more productive government activities. A negative income tax would also be expected to have an immediate stabilizing effect as well as a positive influence on the cycle of economic "boom and bust" (during recession, the minimum income aids individuals' confidence whilst businesses are aided by option to lower wages). CRITICISM OF NIT The main drawback cited by critics is one commonly found in almost any income-based tax system: it requires considerable reporting and supervision in order to avoid fraud. Another concern is that the incentive to commit fraud may be increased with an NIT, since the monetary reward for fraud could be larger than a taxpayer's total tax liability. A NIT might also reduce the incentive to work, since recipients of the NIT would receive a guaranteed minimum wage equal to the government payment in the absence of employment. A series of studies in the United States beginning in 1968 attempted to test for effects on work incentives. The studies showed minimal disincentives, but were difficult to analyze, as the monetary benefits were rarely as generous as those already received through the traditional welfare system. These results lead to an apparent dilemma of maintaining the benefits of existing programs through an NIT without creating significant disincentives and while restricting coverage to any manageable portion of the population. Milton Friedman warned that the negative income tax, as an addition to the "ragbag" of welfare and assistance programs, would only worsen the problem of bureaucracy and waste. Instead, he argued, the negative income tax should immediately replace all other welfare and assistance programs on the way to a completely laissez-faire society where all welfare is privately administered. The negative income tax has come up in one form or another in Congress, but Friedman opposed it because it came packaged with other undesirable elements antithetical to the efficacy of the negative income tax. Friedman preferred to have no income tax at all, but said he did not think it was politically feasible at that time to eliminate it, so he suggested this as a less harmful income tax scheme. NIT proposal was going to be added to the current system instead of replacing it. From 1968 to 1979, the largest Negative Income Tax social experiment in the US was undertaken The four experiments were in: 1. Urban areas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1968-1972 (1375 families). 2. Rural areas in Iowa and North Carolina from 1969-1973 (809 families). 3. Gary, Indiana from 1971-1974 (1800 families). 4. Seattle and Denver, from 1971-1982 (4800 families). In general they found that workers would decrease labor supply (employment) by two to four weeks per year because of the guarantee of income equal to the poverty level. One can also add that the risks and adjustment costs associated with putting in place specific proposals would be horrendous. For example, estimating and pitching the right break-even point, and switching all the necessary treasury operations simultaneously, would be potential social and fiscal 'Y2K' meltdown issues. And what about the stress that would be placed on beneficiaries? So maybe the ‘Big Kahuna’ needs a little more work on the board and a lower swell on the surf before it can ride the waves? POSTSCRIPT Returning to the consideration of a Tax on the Unimproved Value of Land – and again quoting Wikipedia (great how it helps you draw things together quickly – let’s hope my personal 'peer review' is sufficient): ‘Standard economic theory suggests that a land value tax would be extremely efficient – unlike other taxes, it does not reduce economic productivity. The 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize winner Milton Friedman, agreed that Henry George's land tax is potentially beneficial because unlike other taxes, land taxes do not distort economic activity, and do not impose an excess burden (or "deadweight loss") on the economy. A replacement of other more distortionary taxes with a land tax would thus improve economic welfare. Additionally, a land value tax would be a tax of wealth, and so would tend to reduce income inequality'. So let’s get this clear Gareth: ‘Arthur Grimes, Adam Smith and Milton Friedman have all endorsed a “dumb idea”, and Milton Friedman appears to have retrospectively stolen your surf board?’

    • New Zealand’s Pokémon: a real monster from the deep
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Te Papa's blog
      • Did you know New Zealand has its own Pokémon? It’s called Relicanth and our science researcher Rodrigo Salvador has been speculating on why this creature was chosen to represent Aotearoa. The launch of the “Generation III” monsters for Pokémon GO in 2016 had a surprise in store for everyone. New Zealanders discovered their country now has its own exclusive Pokémon called... Read more »

    • Neanderthals: 'Truth is we just don’t know - about your songs and dreams ...'
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • Leaving a mark … a colour-enhanced hand stencil from La Pasiega in northern Spain, now dated back 66,700 years. Photograph: Reuters So Neanderthals made abstract art? This astounding discovery humbles every human Scientists say cave paintings in Spain, thought to have been by our ancestors, were actually by Neanderthals. So did they teach us everything we know? https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/feb/23/neanderthals-cave-art-spain-astounding-discovery-humbles-every-human   [Jonathan Jones] But here’s the thing [about proven painting by non-Homo Sapiens]. That Neanderthal hand is the first evidence ever found of another species showing cultural self-consciousness. It’s not so very far from a hand print to a self-portrait to a diary to a novel. This discovery dethrones the modern human mind.  It also means that if, as well as interbreeding with Neanderthals and sharing artistic ideas with them, the first groups of Homo sapiens to enter Europe massacred them and helped make them extinct, it was our fellow thinking beings we were killing. Not just another extinction, but the first genocide. KJWNZ  22 AUGUST 2014 ABSENT ABEL N Sitting awhile in Civic Square I missed you there. I was watching the pigeons and the gulls Hob-knobbing or squawky strutting Waiting for scraps from wraps and squabbling A bobbing beggar crew following Heartless yellow eyed brigands. Two birds jostling in that space But humankind the only race. Forty thousand years ago you watched Barrel-chested and wide-nosed Sniffing us puny newcomers Listening to the keening sounds, That drifted from strange kin. There wasn’t room enough for two We schemed and made an end of you. Our myths about you are unflattering That you were unchattered trolls With quizzical protruding brows Sitting around napping rough tools So dim-witted you built nothing. Now we have the square alone No rivals since you've gone. Truth is we just don’t know About your songs and dreams And what at times you may have seen Your sense of right, your sense of love Wonders at the stars light-stretched above. And we are left to fight each other With hands we bloodied on a distant brother.

    • ... In the long term certainty that those who play music together are not willingly going to fight a war against each other.
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • A MESSAGE FROM MY SHORROCKS SECOND COUSIN Dear Friend,Like many, I try to keep informed about current affairs, while so many times also feeling helpless and frustrated by not being able to do anything about what I read or hear about. But last year I felt I did manage to do something, however small.Over the last 20+ years I have been privileged to be invited abroad to teach and coach music to many different groups and nationalities. Last summer I was invited out to Kosovo and Italy and have been so impressed by this particular project that I have offered to try and raise support for this summer – 2018 – and perhaps beyond.It is rare as a musician that one feels one can intervene in some of the politically stressed parts of the world, and despite following events as far as one can in today’s world seldom can one do anything about it, it seems. This project however is actually trying to do something about the aftermath of events in the Balkans 20 years ago, and my experience of last summer’s course in Kosovo is that it really might be part of the answer. I genuinely felt it was contributing, positively, and that I could be a part of that contribution, and here starts the ask for your support.Imagine this situation: your husband has died of cancer, perhaps because of NATO’s depleted uranium rounds, and you are trying to bring up your son or daughter and enable them to have as normal an upbringing as possible including the chance to learn an instrument. And you are trying to do this on just 200 euros a month. A music course is offered, and it is possible due to it being essentially funded and therefore there is no cost to the participants, and your child is good enough and gets a place. They can join! And meet others from the Balkans and get to know them, in the long term certainty that those who play music together are not willingly going to fight a war against each other.That is the hope of IPSIA, who do many things along these lines around the year. The summer music courses are a part of this wider project that I was involved in and it is for these that I wish to raise money.So if I could please ask you at least to read what is included in the reports and comments, and see the promotional video, and then make your own judgement and perhaps contribute, I would be most grateful. Anything and everything is welcome, and I have set the ambitious target of £50,000 to try and achieve so that it can all happen again this summer. To this end, if this seems to have any worth please also share it with your friends, relations, colleagues etc, and perhaps we can create a positive experience in an otherwise unnecessarily bleak world.Thank you.Tony ShorrocksLiverpool Dear Tony,I would like to say that the IPSIA music project has given me one of the best experiences in my life. (…)About the individual classes I only want to say that you are a magnificent teacher and that I learned a lot, and that the notebook was such a cool idea. The organization was very good. (…) I'm very grateful for the favour they made me. And finally, I want to thank the project and all the teachers for this incredible experience. This is cool not only for the music. It's cool because it gives you the chance to know a beautiful country and incredible people that you wouldn’t have known, and the most important, making music. Carmen Lázaro. Dear professor Tony, It was such a pleasant experience to be a part of the project. I'm still in touch with the people I've met during my stay in Prizren and Forli. The things I've learnt from you and maestro Igor are countless, from orchestral technique to the concept of the pieces that we played. Aside from that, you were great motivators and you have made us young people believe that within ten days we can work as a team and create beautiful music. Personally it was my first experience in a big orchestra and it could've not been better. Simply, it was a part of my life I'll never forget!Yours sincerely ,Irina.Dear Tony,(…)I really had a great time with this project. I learned some new things. I met new people from different places which was amazing because I got to know more about different places and their music schools. It was also a good experience because we went to Italy and for me it was the first time I was in a different State and everything was new to me like the place, the people, the language I also learned new words in different languages. The best reasons why I would like to have more like this project is because you get better in instruments, and you get an experience in other stages than the one in your Country. Also you go in a different State and learn about music with other musicians which is a great feeling because you know that there you can't be judged for what you wear, what you say or anything else, there is you and the instrument nothing else. I hope that there will be another project and I would love to be part of it.Bleona Sinanaj Dear Sir, The IPSIA music project has been an event that will long be remembered.I was very excited right from the moment I found out I would be attending and all the way through to the end. I was met with a very warm welcome and I met many other youngsters as excited as I was. Also, I made many wonderful friends from different countries.The experience and confidence gained is quite significant considering that I trained and played with international professionals but also had the chance to listen to and learn from my peers, and hopefully also the other way around.I'm very grateful to everyone engaged in this project especially to the head of the project, a very special lady, Maria Teresa Indellicati who took care of everything. Many thanks and blessings for my teachers, Ms.Elena Indellicati, Mr. Denis Zardi and Mr. Pierluigi di Tella who helped to me realize my first piano concert with orchestra. This summer was the best summer I've ever had! Respectfully,Vesa Berisha

    • Books to satisfy your Game of Thrones cravings
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Are you missing your Game of Thrones fix while waiting for Season 8 to return in 2019? Then look no further, for we have you covered with these books! The assassin’s apprentice / Robin Hobb. “The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and his is despised.Raised in the castle stables, only the company of the king’s fool, the ragged children of the lower city and his unusual affinity with animals provide Fitz with any comfort.To be useful to the crown, Fitz is trained as an assassin; and to use the traditional magic of the Farseer family. But his tutor, allied to another political faction, is determined to discredit, even kill him. Fitz must survive: for he may be destined to save the kingdom.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) Temeraire / Naomi Novik. “Naomi Novik’s stunning series of novels follow the global adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson’s navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancee, society’s esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to overrun her shores.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The emperor’s blades / Brian Staveley. “In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)   Who fears death / Nnedi Okorafor. “In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different– special –she names her Onyesonwu, which means “Who fears death?” in an ancient language.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) Gardens of the moon : a tale of the Malazan book of the fallen / Steven Erikson. “Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out – and Empress Lasseen’s ambition knows no bounds. However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The traitor Baru Cormorant / Seth Dickinson. “In Seth Dickinson’s highly-anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant , a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The thief / by Megan Whalen Turner. “Eugenides, the queen’s thief, can steal anything–or so he says. When his boasting lands him in prison and the king’s magus invites him on a quest to steal a legendary object, he’s in no position to refuse. The magus thinks he has the right tool for the job, but Gen has plans of his own.Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) Kushiel’s dart / Jacqueline Carey. “A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger… a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm… Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phedre no Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy… and unlikely heroine. But when Phedre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

    • Sky Canvas
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Sky Canvas kicked off in 2015, formed by students of the New Zealand School of Music (and members of the school’s leading jazz orchestra). In their couple of years of existence, they have been writing vibrant original material and piecing together their own take on covers (songs by the likes of Little Dragon, Erykah Badu, Sia etc..). After a string of putting on heavy shows around town (Matterhorn, San Fran, Southern Cross, Rogue & Vagabond, Bodega) and playing shows with visiting acts (from Auckland, Melbourne), Sky Canvas headed into Wellington’s Surgery Studios to record their debut EP. Sky Canvas is: Katelin Little – Vocals  Sam Nakamura – Guitar/Vocals Luther Hunt – Drums/Vocals Fraser Walker – Keyboards/Synthesizers Tyaan Singh – Bass/Saxophone

    • Second Hand Swim Gear Sale: Thursday 8 March
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Raumati Swimming Club
      • The Club is introducing a second hand gear sale to be held a couple of times a year with half of the proceeds going to the Club as a little fundraiser. Great opportunity to resell your quality used swimming gear (outgrown uniform, racing gear, training gear, training aids etc.)! Check your garage, drawers, swim bags Read More... The post Second Hand Swim Gear Sale: Thursday 8 March appeared first on Raumati Raptors Swimming.

    • The Alex Moffat Selection
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • A singer songwriter based in Karori, Wellington.  Influences are  The Blue Nile, Counting Crows and Graham Parker. Alex’s first album is ‘East’. It is a mixture of Pop, Soul and Gospel in an Americana style. Moffat calls it Kiwiana. Second album ‘Archive’ is now available. It is a collection of older recordings and some new ones. It has Pop, Rock, Reggae and even some Gypsy music. Third album ‘Cuckoo’ is under way and will be available mid 2018. Free downloads of all songs are available or you can purchase the album complete.

    • Nga Uri Taniwha
      • 23 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Mai i te karamatamatatanga o te Remutaka ki Põkai Mangumangu, ki Pareraho, ki Tirohanga, ki Tukutuku, ki Puke Tirotiro, ki Pukeariki, huhū rā te puaha o Te Awakairangi, whakawhiti atu ki Tangi a te Keo tau atu ai ki te moana o Raukawakawa puta mai ai ko Ngā Uri Taniwha.

    • Lisa Tomlins
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Lisa Tomlins has worked with some of the best including Fat Freddys Drop, Rhombus, Shapeshifter, Trinity Roots, The Eggs and many more. 

    • Browse our top picks from this month’s fiction arrivals in our latest newsletter
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • It’s the beginning of a new year and we have selected some fabulous new fiction from our recently received material for your enjoyment. In the ‘Other Genres’ category this month we are highlighting thrillers, which are guaranteed tensely suspenseful reading. Library News Meet Libby: Overdrive’s new eBook & eAudio app Contemporary fiction This month we received new novels from so many brilliant writers it was difficult to select only ten for our Recent Picks selection. We do hope you will explore the complete list and that the three chosen for this newsletter will definitely be a temptation to do so. The hearts of men / Nickolas Butler. “Camp Chippewa, 1962. Thirteen-year-old Nelson, loner and over-achiever, is nicknamed the Bugler as he proudly sounds the reveille each morning. This is the summer that everything changes, marking the beginning of Nelson’s uncertain friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan, and the discovery of his father’s betrayal, which tears his family apart. As time moves on, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and transforms his father’s business. When something unthinkable happens during a visit from Jonathan’s grandson and daughter-in-law, the aftermath tests the depths and the limits of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Future home of the living god : a novel / Louise Erdrich. “Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. For twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant. As society begins to disintegrate, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation. There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women, of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) The threat level remains severe / Rowena Macdonald. “House of Commons secretary Grace has been counting the tea breaks in the same dull job for a decade. Brett, the new boy is on a mission to shake up the dusty backrooms of power and set to collide with Grace. Office life begins to look up when Grace receives some mysterious emails.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Graphic novels As always the graphic novel collection provides readers with a multitude of choice with the variation of narrative, both visual and textual. For this month’s newsletter we have chosen examples of this diversification. Josephine Baker / written by José-Louis Bocquet ; art by Catel Muller ; historical consultant, Jean-Claude Bouillon-Baker. “Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was nineteen years old when she found herself in Paris for the first time in 1925. Overnight, the young American dancer became the idol of the Roaring Twenties, captivating Picasso, Cocteau, Le Corbusier, and Simenon. In the liberating atmosphere of the 1930s, Baker rose to fame as the first black star on the world stage, from London to Vienna, Alexandria to Buenos Aires. After World War II, and her time in the French Resistance, Baker devoted herself to the struggle against racial segregation, publicly battling the humiliations she had for so long suffered personally. A victim of racism throughout her life, Josephine Baker would sing of love and liberty until the day she died.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) On the Camino / Jason. “Northwestern Spain, observed with the eye of an artist, chronicling both the good (people, conversations) and the bad (blisters, bedbugs) he encountered on his journey. Full of quiet incidents, odd encounters, small triumphs, and the occasional setback, On the Camino is the first implicitly autobiographical long-form work by a master cartoonist.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Rise of the dungeon master : Gary Gygax and the creation of D&D / David Kushner and Koren Shadmi. “Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and; Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story. Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game, determining the rules and inventing the signature 20-sided dice. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Mysteries In the selection of new mystery fiction this month there were several translated novels, giving an international flavour to this genre. Readers will enjoy the different cultures and societies represented in each mystery. A great way to enjoy armchair travel, providing the suspense and tension is not too disturbing. The girl in the fog / Donato Carrisi ; translated by Howard Curtis. “A man is arrested in the small town of Avechot. His shirt is covered in blood. Could this have anything to do with a missing girl called Anna Lou? What really happened to the girl? Detective Vogel will do anything to solve the mystery surrounding Anna Lou’s disappearance. When a media storm hits the quiet town, Vogel is sure that the suspect will be flushed out. Yet the clues are confusing, perhaps false, and following them may be a far cry from discovering the truth at the heart of a dark town.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Madness treads lightly / Polina Dashkova ; translated by Marian Schwartz. “As a working mother, Lena Polyanskaya has her hands full. She’s busy caring for her two-year-old daughter, editing a successful magazine, and supporting her husband, a high-ranking colonel in counterintelligence. She doesn’t have time to play amateur detective. But when a close friend’s suspicious death is labeled a suicide, she’s determined to prove he wouldn’t have taken his own life. As Lena digs in to her investigation, all clues point to murder and its connection to a string of grisly cold-case homicides that stretches back to the Soviet era. When another person in her circle becomes a victim, Lena fears she and her family may be next. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to protect them. But will learning the truth unmask a killer or put her and her family in even more danger?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) The Anthill murders / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson. “1972. Across Oslo, a serial killer is hunting down young women. Each body found strangled and with a peculiar calling-card placed upon her body: a cut-out picture of an ant. The first victim is a timid theology student, the next a jazz singer, followed by the heir to one of the largest fortunes in Oslo. But despite Inspector K2’s best efforts to find a link, the only thing connecting them seems to be their murder. With assistant Patricia’s intellect put to the test and increasing pressure from his boss as the clock ticks down to the next possible killing, K2 is in danger of losing his position as Oslo’s leading homicide detective.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Science fiction/fantasy The selection from our new science fiction and fantasy novels included several that were dystopian themed, and several novels that had immediate problems facing the world woven into the plots, such as global warming, animal rights and pandemics. The city of brass / S. A. Chakraborty. “Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by, palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing, are all tricks. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale about Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. When Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Beacon 23 / Hugh Howey. “For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job and a thankless one for the most part, until something goes wrong, until a ship is in distress. In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren’t supposed to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Dogs of war / Adrian Tchaikovsky. “My name is Rex. I am a good dog. Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he’s got to kill a lot of enemies. But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more Other genres This is another month featuring New Zealand writers in our ‘Other Genre’ category. Hopefully this is an indication that New Zealand writing and publishing is flourishing. Almost all genres are represented, from historical fiction to mysteries and short stories, and with a New Zealand flavour. Soldier’s son / by Ian Dodds. “David sees his father’s World War II 2 ex-soldier macho behavior as being destructive and abusive. When his father gives up alcohol he sees that he could change himself too, and be a more sensitive man than his father has been. When he goes to Teachers College the seventies feminist wave is filtered through his feminist friends. This results in giving him the tools he needed to be the kind of father he wished he’d always had earlier in his life enabling him to be in tune with the roles of husband and father.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary) Salt picnic / Patrick Evans. “All the time on the island there had been something she was looking for. She knew she had to keep this in mind, and that she’d know what it was when she found it, whatever it proved to be. It’s 1956 and Iola arrives on the island of Ibiza, on the fringes of Franco’s Spain, with little more than a Spanish phrasebook. Soon she meets a fascinating American photographer who falls in and out of focus: is he really a photographer, and who exactly is the German doctor he keeps asking her about? The mysterious doctor, when he appears, takes Iola for a picnic on a salt island, where she learns how easily the world can be obscured.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Baby / Annaleese Jochems “Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen when her bootcamp instructor, the striking Anahera, suggests they run away together. With stolen money and a dog in tow they buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But there is an intruder waiting to upset Cynthia’s plans and when a trip to an island utopia goes horribly wrong, a rot sets in on their relationship.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Read more

    • Land Taxation: 'Do Not Forsake Me ...'
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • STILL FIGHTING FOR A TAX ON WINDFALL GAINS I was interested to read this morning that the UK Labour Party is seriously considering introducing a Land Tax on the economic rents that arise and accrue to private property holders from public expenditure on infrastructure, artificially manipulated low interest rates, chronic housing sector under-investment, and irrational exuberance in the property sector: Labour says land value tax would boost local government budgets John McDonnell says funding crisis in local services may have opened window of opportunity https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/22/labour-says-land-value-tax-would-boost-local-government-budgets As the governing NZ Labour Party is about to embark on yet another Tax Review, surely it should give very serious consideration to the policy proposed by its sister party in the UK?  The tax would be directly related to the unearned wealth of the homeowner and it would capture the rapid growth in house values that have been a financial boost to those who own property. It would be progressive and income and wealth redistributive - What More Can You Ask? My post of 16 February 2010 TAX OPTION HIGH NOON – LAND VERSUS FLAT RATE New Zealand has recently undertaken a comprehensive review of the merits of different types of taxes and the advantages of different combinations of taxes (or tax regimes). The Tax Working Group members included the Chairman of the Reserve Bank Arthur Grimes and Gareth Morgan, an independent economic forecaster and investment adviser. I have been entertained by their mutual pursuit of hobby horses and their sotto voce feuding (or as we have in NZ English 'their stoush'). First of all let’s talk about Arthur’s Tax on the Unimproved Value of Land. TAXING THE UNIMPROVED VALUE OF LAND The New Zealand story can be gleaned from various reports in the Dominion Post: ‘Taxing the unimproved value of land excluding buildings and other developments is seen as an effective lever to raise revenue and damp down a resurgence in house prices without creating too many distortions. A capital gains tax is widely considered too politically charged and a full property tax could act as a disincentive to invest. But a land tax could cause a small one-off drop in values and hit the elderly, Maori and farmers the hardest. The average residential land value is $214,000. In Wellington City it is $250,000, Lower Hutt $200,000, Christchurch $188,000, Hawke's Bay $100,000 and Manawatu $110,000. A land tax of 0.1 per cent, cited as a possible rate for discussion by sources close to the tax group, could raise more than $460 million enough to fund a cut from 38 cents to 33 cents in the top personal rate. Economist (and Reserve Bank chairman) Arthur Grimes has presented a full set of how a land tax could work. Bits of it have some attractions: the economic modelling suggests such a tax would, firstly, widen the tax net because it would hit property investors and also offshore landowners who buy land in New Zealand but who don't pay any New Zealand tax, unless they buy something when they visit and contribute to the GST take. Grimes' model also suggests exempting property priced lower than $50,000 a hectare: that would in effect exempt most farms, forestry, and Department of Conservation and Maori land. The other aspect is the built-in assumption is that land values are currently unrealistically high and that this means they not only should but will come down, and that a land tax will give them a nudge in that direction. Land values could fall just under 17% if a 1% land tax is introduced, according to his calculations. The other assumption is that when they do so, landlords will drop their rents to reflect the drop in property value. New Zealand has of course had a land tax before. Brought in by the Liberal government in the 1890s as a tax on the "unearned increment" of land values, various exemptions were applied once the farmer-dominated Reform governments took over form 1912 and the tax was gradually whittled away with more and more exemptions. When it was finally abolished in 1990 it was costing more to collect than it was actually collecting. It also has the advantage that it moves the taxation system more towards taxing things which cannot run away - unlike things like capital and income. The Treasury is rather keen on this. What are the possible downsides? They are more political than technical, and they are more to do with a possible opposite effect to what happened the last time we had such a tax. That is, starting a land tax with exemptions may well see those exemptions wound back. It is not too difficult to see a future revenue-strapped Labour government extending a land tax to include farms - which are of course usually owned by people who tend not to be big Labour voters. It is also not impossible to see a scenario where this could become a deal maker and breaker in any future governing arrangement with the Maori Party, which would want to see Maori land exempt. So even any land tax which exempts farmers is still likely to make them jittery'. Apparently the land tax idea has now been ruled out by the Government. The unashamedly brilliant Dr Gareth Morgan has welcomed the Government ruling out a land tax – and paid the Chairman of the Reserve Bank a less than fulsome compliment – terming it in an avowedly ‘fair and balanced’ assessment, a "dumb idea". THE THEORY OF LAND TAXATION The justification for a tax on the unearned increment in land values goes back to such early economists as Ricardo and von Thunen. Both of them developed the concept of economic rent – Ricardo as it applies to differentials in land fertility, and von Thunen as it applies to differentials in market access. Economic rent is defined as the relative difference between the surplus earned on normal land use (e.g. wheat cultivation using standard techniques) - across different soils and locations - after other inputs or ‘factors of production’ have been rewarded at their general level (or in economic jargon ‘their opportunity cost’). The inputs can include a return on entrepreneurial energy and a normal return on risk. The residual was assumed by Ricardo to result from the ‘inherent powers of the soil’ in the case of wheat cultivation. However, Ricardo recognized that economic rents were not static. They rose and fell, and he correctly deduced that: ‘the price of wheat is not high because the price of land is high – rather the price of land is high because the price of wheat is high’. That is, the overall level of economic rents is a function of the overall level of economic activity in the economy. This suggests that society may have a claim on at least part of the surplus or ‘economic rent’ because it does not stem from the activities of individual businessmen or land developers but from the wider economic successes of society (and from the growth of particular towns and settlements in the case of unimproved, developer’s land for housing). The initial proponent of such a land tax was the US economist Henry George who argued in the 19th Century that while nationalization of land would make sense, taxing its unimproved value would be less disruptive and controversial in a country where land titles have already been granted to individuals. The big gap in the theory, as it could be currently applied, was its lack of attention to the impact of low interest rates and excess liquidity on land and housing prices. But it scores well when these issues are factored in. When money is cheap, asset values appreciate. And when, as they are doing, the Chinese run simultaneous enormous trade and savings surpluses, the knock-on effect is to flood the world with easy money. And if, as a banker, you want to lend out this money at reduced risk, what better than lending on housing bricks and mortar or development land itself? This led western homeowners and developers to bid up the price of assets held by their fellow countrymen – and the housing bubble grew apace. It would therefore seem to make even greater sense to tax the unearned increment from escalating property prices to: 1. skim off a share of the ‘returns to cheap money’ for society as a whole 2. moderate ballooning bubbles 3. divert investment funds to potentially more productive forms of economic activity. So basically I agree with Arthur Grimes (and it turns out with Adam Smith and Milton Friedman as well). GARETH’S BIG KAHUNA Returning to the newspaper reports: ‘Maverick economist Gareth Morgan's ideas have received quite a bit of media attention. If you missed it, Morgan proposed a flat income tax at 25%; a comprehensive capital tax on all land, buildings, plant and machinery investment, and a $10,000 guaranteed minimum income which would replace all benefits. In effect, he told the conference, the first $40,000 - not far below the average annual wage - would be tax-free. The chances of finding out if Morgan's proposals would work are not high; for all that, they were presented with his usual panache and made more than a few headlines. Conversion of the nation's dairy farms to supply the world with cannabis is about as likely. From the floor of the conference (on Tax Policy), the ideas were treated almost as a bit of light relief’. However, this has not stopped Gareth from hammering home the advantages of a single rate income taxation system (including negative income tax for low wage earners) with an extensive recent article in the NZ Listener magazine. He calls ‘his’ idea the ‘Big Kahuna’ after, it seems its use in the Beach Party films of the 1960s such as Beach Blanket Bingo, where the "Big Kahuna" was the best surfer on the beach. Originally a kahuna in the Hawaiian language was a "Priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession” (Gareth himself?). Incidentally, the word kahuna shares a common Polynesian origin and meaning with the Maori word ‘tohunga’, so maybe he should have talked about the “Big Tohunga”. THE THEORY OF NEGATIVE INCOME TAX Quoting Wikipedia (as Gareth appears to have done though he discarded the empirical evidence and provisos): ‘In economics, a negative income tax (abbreviated NIT) is a progressive income tax system where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government. Such a system has been discussed by economists but never fully implemented. It was developed by British politician Juliet Rhys-Williams in the 1940s and later by United States economist Milton Friedman in 1962 in Capitalism and Freedom. Negative income taxes can implement a basic income or supplement a guaranteed minimum income system. In a negative income tax system, people earning a certain income level would owe no taxes; those earning more than that would pay a proportion of their income above that level; and those below that level would receive a payment of a proportion of their shortfall, which is the amount their income falls below that level. Typically, this is proposed to be implemented as a flat tax combined with a fixed government payment. For example, if the flat tax rate is 25% and a government payment of $10,000, then: A person earning $40,000 per year would be at the break-even point. They pay no taxes, because their tax payment equals their government payment. A person earning $1,000,000 would pay close to the full 25% tax, as the government payment would be negligible as compared to the $250,000 in tax payments. A person earning only $4,000 per year would pay $1,000 in taxes but receive $10,000 in payment, for a net income of $13,000, or $9,000 in net government payments. The net payment is 25% of the difference between their income and the break-even income’. GENERAL WELFARE EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE INCOME TAX (NIT) ‘A negative income tax is intended to create a single system that would not only pay for government, but would also fulfill the social goal of making sure that there was a minimum level of income for all. An NIT does not disrupt low-wage markets, whereas a minimum wage makes certain very low end jobs impossible (completely unemploying those whose labour would be valued slightly less than the minimum). Intervention programmes create perverse incentives, as when a minimum wage worker who earns a little more nets out with less income because he is newly ineligible for aid. This then discourages low-wage workers from seeking higher-paying employment, and is known as the welfare trap. A worker under a NIT always gets the same portion of each marginal dollar earned, so there is always an equal incentive to work. A universal and singular negative income tax would reduce administrative overheads, since the large bureaucracies responsible for administering taxation and welfare systems could be eliminated. The resources saved by eliminating these bureaucracies could then be spent on more productive government activities. A negative income tax would also be expected to have an immediate stabilizing effect as well as a positive influence on the cycle of economic "boom and bust" (during recession, the minimum income aids individuals' confidence whilst businesses are aided by option to lower wages). CRITICISM OF NIT The main drawback cited by critics is one commonly found in almost any income-based tax system: it requires considerable reporting and supervision in order to avoid fraud. Another concern is that the incentive to commit fraud may be increased with an NIT, since the monetary reward for fraud could be larger than a taxpayer's total tax liability. A NIT might also reduce the incentive to work, since recipients of the NIT would receive a guaranteed minimum wage equal to the government payment in the absence of employment. A series of studies in the United States beginning in 1968 attempted to test for effects on work incentives. The studies showed minimal disincentives, but were difficult to analyze, as the monetary benefits were rarely as generous as those already received through the traditional welfare system. These results lead to an apparent dilemma of maintaining the benefits of existing programs through an NIT without creating significant disincentives and while restricting coverage to any manageable portion of the population. Milton Friedman warned that the negative income tax, as an addition to the "ragbag" of welfare and assistance programs, would only worsen the problem of bureaucracy and waste. Instead, he argued, the negative income tax should immediately replace all other welfare and assistance programs on the way to a completely laissez-faire society where all welfare is privately administered. The negative income tax has come up in one form or another in Congress, but Friedman opposed it because it came packaged with other undesirable elements antithetical to the efficacy of the negative income tax. Friedman preferred to have no income tax at all, but said he did not think it was politically feasible at that time to eliminate it, so he suggested this as a less harmful income tax scheme. NIT proposal was going to be added to the current system instead of replacing it. From 1968 to 1979, the largest Negative Income Tax social experiment in the US was undertaken The four experiments were in: 1. Urban areas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1968-1972 (1375 families). 2. Rural areas in Iowa and North Carolina from 1969-1973 (809 families). 3. Gary, Indiana from 1971-1974 (1800 families). 4. Seattle and Denver, from 1971-1982 (4800 families). In general they found that workers would decrease labor supply (employment) by two to four weeks per year because of the guarantee of income equal to the poverty level. One can also add that the risks and adjustment costs associated with putting in place specific proposals would be horrendous. For example, estimating and pitching the right break-even point, and switching all the necessary treasury operations simultaneously, would be potential social and fiscal 'Y2K' meltdown issues. And what about the stress that would be placed on beneficiaries? So maybe the ‘Big Kahuna’ needs a little more work on the board and a lower swell on the surf before it can ride the waves? POSTSCRIPT Returning to the consideration of a Tax on the Unimproved Value of Land – and again quoting Wikipedia (great how it helps you draw things together quickly – let’s hope my personal 'peer review' is sufficient): ‘Standard economic theory suggests that a land value tax would be extremely efficient – unlike other taxes, it does not reduce economic productivity. The 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize winner Milton Friedman, agreed that Henry George's land tax is potentially beneficial because unlike other taxes, land taxes do not distort economic activity, and do not impose an excess burden (or "deadweight loss") on the economy. A replacement of other more distortionary taxes with a land tax would thus improve economic welfare. Additionally, a land value tax would be a tax of wealth, and so would tend to reduce income inequality'. So let’s get this clear Gareth: ‘Arthur Grimes, Adam Smith and Milton Friedman have all endorsed a “dumb idea”, and Milton Friedman appears to have retrospectively stolen your surf board?’

    • New Zealand’s Pokémon: a real monster from the deep
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Te Papa's blog
      • Did you know New Zealand has its own Pokémon? It’s called Relicanth and our science researcher Rodrigo Salvador has been speculating on why this creature was chosen to represent Aotearoa. The launch of the “Generation III” monsters for Pokémon GO in 2016 had a surprise in store for everyone. New Zealanders discovered their country now has its own exclusive Pokémon called... Read more »

    • Sean Hannity and Fox News - How Low Can You Stoop?
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • A FAIRLY REVOLTING CARTOON COMMENT ON A THOROUGHLY REVOLTING TWEET BY SEAN HANNITY OF FOX NEWS See: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sean-hannity-secret-sperm-obama_us_5a839da9e4b0cf06751f9ef3

    • WRL: New signal fault causing delays of up to 30 minutes to Wairarapa Line services will continue through peak tomorrow
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Unfortunately a signal fault in the Rimutaka Tunnel has been identified. This will cause delays of 20 to 30 minutes to services on the Wairarapa Line. KiwiRail work crews have located this fault and will be working on fixing the issue throughout the night.This issue will affect peak Wairarapa Line services tomorrow morning.Services affected:The 5:30pm service from Wellington to Masterton is running approximately 21 minutes late from Featherston. What is a Signal FaultA signal relays information to the train driver on the state of the line ahead. These are red, yellow and green lights which provide direction on speed or tell the driver to stop. If a signal stops working the train staff follow procedures to safely pass. The driver may have to contact the control centre and get the okay to proceed. The train is also likely to travel slower through the area controlled by the signal as an additional safety measure.For more information on signal faults and the impact it has on services, please see 'What Delays Trains'.  Apologies for the delays, we appreciate your patience during this time. This page will be updated at 5:30am with the latest information. This affects these services: WRL

    • 2018 Wellington Vets Open – March 17 (Saturday)
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Table Tennis Wellington
      • The 2018 Table Tennis Wellington Veterans Open is being held on Saturday March 17 the conditions and form documents are below or use the online form to enter. Please enter by 6pm on Wednesday March 14. There are over 40/50/60 and... Continue Reading →

    • Meet Metlink Rail Managers on Wednesday 28 February at Wellington station – We’d love to hear from you!
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • The next Meet our Managers event is coming up and want to hear from you!Meet Metlink Rail Managers on Wednesday 28 February between 3.30pm-5.30pm at Wellington Railway Station.We want to hear from you about how we are performing. How are we measuring up against our customer commitments?Come along and have a chat with the people that are responsible for running your train service. This affects these services: HVL JVL KPL MEL WRL

    • Afrokan Quintet
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Headed up by Afro-Cuban musician Rafael Ferrer Noel, AfroKan* plays 100% authentic Afro-Cuban Jazz and is collaboration between graduates of the NZ School of Music and resident Afro-Latino musicians. Line-up includes Ayrton Foote (Keyboard), Jacqui Nyman (Bass Guitar), Mikey Trujillo Rodríguez (Bongo) and Rachelle Eastwood (Flute) and Rafael Ferrer Noel (Lead Vocals and Congas) Repetoire includes compositions by Afro-Cuban Jazz greats such as Chucho Valdéz, Carlos “Patato” Valdéz, Poncho Sánchez, Rubén González and Orlando “Maraca” Valle amongst others. *AfroKan is a Yoruba term used in Cuba meaning Afrikano de Corazón – Afrikan at Heart.

    • Buses replace some evening train services on the Kapiti Line between Wellington and Waikanae – Sunday 25 – Wednesday 28 February
      • 22 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Buses will be replacing some evening trains on the Kapiti line between Wellington and Porirua and Wellington and Waikanae.Emergency work will be underway to fix the overhead wire issue outside Wellington station. For more information visit the Rail Maintenance Projects page on the Metlink website.  NOTE: This is a bus replacement timetable and is different from a regular train timetable.Bus replacement timetable - services highlighted in green will be replaced by buses:Kapiti Line bus replacement posterYou may not be able to use this service as you normally would. If you have additional mobility needs please contact 0800 801 700 to plan your travel.For bus pick-up locations check 'Where do I catch the bus?'.Please allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains. For more information see: http://www.metlink.org.nz/getting-around/using-a-cycle-on-ptAll folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the Journey Planner. This affects these services: KPL

    • Buses replace some evening train services on the Johnsonville Line between Wellington and Johnsonville – Sunday 25 – Wednesday 28 February
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Buses will be replacing some evening trains on the Johnsonville line between Wellington and Johnsonville.Emergency work will be underway to fix the overhead wire issue outside Wellington station. For more information visit the Rail Maintenance Projects page on the Metlink website. NOTE: Crofton Downs is serviced by a shuttle to and from Ngaio. Service to Wellington depart Crofton Downs earlier to meet the scheduled service at Ngaio.Bus replacement timetable - services highlighted in green will be replaced by buses:Johnsonville Line bus replacement poster You may not be able to use this service as you normally would. If you have additional mobility needs please contact 0800 801 700 to plan your travel.For bus pick-up locations check 'Where do I catch the bus?'.Please allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains.  For more information see: http://www.metlink.org.nz/getting-around/using-a-cycle-on-pt.All folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the Journey Planner. This affects these services: JVL

    • A Plea to Fairfax Media - Sell Us the Dominion Post!
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • JUST FOR PROFIT NOT GOOD NEWS The UK Guardian reports that Fairfax Media, which owns our Wellington-based newspaper the Dominion Post [and its Sunday manifestation the Star Times], is divesting itself of 28 regional titles in a bit to maintain profit levels under a disastrous brush with the new realities of digital competition for advertising revenue and public influence: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/feb/21/fairfax-media-to-sell-28-new-zealand-titles-as-half-year-profit-slumps?CMP=share_btn_fb Greg Hywood, chief executive and managing director, said 35% of the smaller community titles in the NZ company, now known as Stuff, were being offloaded to “bring forward the time when increases in digital revenue outweigh declines in print” . ... “We will take advantage of opportunities arising from media consolidation as and when it occurs,” Hywood said. “Any decisions we take will be in the best interests of our shareholders.” The interests of readers and the country at large are not considerations at present it seems. Fairfax, please do the decent thing and live up to your wider responsibilities as a good corporate citizen. Let's start talking about how we can move the Dominion Post to a non-profit status with a commitment to research, investigation and the exploration of every aspect of verifiable truth - clearly providing you with a fair pay-out. We need your help with the transition of the Dominion Post to a balanced no-strings sponsorship, subscription and donation model. One possible sponsor comes to mind immediately - if Wellington City Council foregoes subsidizing the proposed Wellington Airport Runway Extension Project, there is $90 million straight-off for the purchase of the newspaper. The alternative Mr Hywood, if 'highest bidder' shareholder returns are your only concern, might be that an unscrupulous oligarch like Peter Thiel might snaffle the newspaper for what he would regard as a song, with a view to further his project to convert New Zealand into a docile Post-Apocalyptic Libertarian Bolthole. Let's see where your heart really is as a true newspaper man - and hopefully true friend of New Zealand! FROM KJWNZ - MAY 4 2017 Fairfax Media ‘Doesn’t Get It’ It seems that:There is something called ‘Journalism’ [which is the prerogative and monopoly of Media companies] that is an inherent public good even though it is largely performed for profitThe traditions of ‘Journalism’ must be upheld at all costs, which can include the granting of monopolies or public subsidies to established providersThe outputs of official ‘Journalism’ are such that public provision must be made in some form or other to maintain the profits or EBITDA [Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization] of the dominant conglomerate companies. Well No – Hell No! Traditional hard copy newspapers are mish-mashes of sports sections [which help sell the rags to the hoi polloi], revenue earning advertising and advertorials, commercial tittle-tattle, entertainment [self-help, human interest, literary and theatre reviews etc.] and gossip news [e.g. the lady in Naenae who is in love with her dog and who has bought it a wedding collar] PLUS National ‘serious news’ and social/political comment - with the latter two more substantive tranches often being heavily skewed to please Establishment or Special Interest Groups. What exactly is so sacrosanct about this model? Ergo I am personally delighted that the Commerce Commission has rejected a merger application by Fairfax (publisher of The Dominion Post and stuff.co.nz) and NZME (publisher of the New Zealand Herald). Instead of bleating on in blatant self-interest about the necessity of monopoly, the two dominant Media Groups should be leading a national debate about how New Zealand can best be provided with freedom of information and comment in support of participatory democracy and the rule of law. This should focus on the serious news and social and political comment offerings that are currently available through traditional and non-traditional media – and ways in which their coverage, diversity and independence can be improved. If this involves separating out Investigative Journalism and formulating new approaches to funding it, so be it. And nobody should expect that such material will appear daily. Awhile back, Bill Ralston commented to the effect that ‘there is simply not enough serious news in a small country like New Zealand to preoccupy a dedicated coterie of serious journalists’. He's right. Let’s get real and focus on the Real Issues. [For an assessment of the situation in Australia see:  https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/may/04/australias-journalism-is-in-mortal-danger-politicians-should-join-the-fight-to-save-it -  ... and the withering comments provided by Aussie readers on such issues as the contribution of Oz Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch to the worldwide collapse of ethics and standards, and the wooden, lumbering, selfie-schtick prose gurgitated by Strine hacks and hackettes]. The Dominion Post Editorial: The Commerce Commission doesn't get it Last updated 17:49, May 3 2017 Commerce Commission chairman Mark Berry said the decision to block the Fairfax and NZME media merger was not "finely balanced". OPINION: The ground is moving under journalism companies everywhere. Readers are migrating in their hordes to the web, with its endless flood of information. Newspapers are fighting for survival, and news websites, even the most prominent, struggle to compete with the ravenous global attention-grabbers – the Facebooks and the Googles. These are all banalities by now. It is a shame for New Zealand that the Commerce Commission has not properly grappled with them. The Commission has again rejected a merger application by Fairfax (publisher of The Dominion Post and stuff.co.nz) and NZME (publisher of the New Zealand Herald). It ought to have seen how massive the media challenge ahead is – and allowed the companies to join, to give them a fighting chance of pushing on for years to come. Instead, it looked to the past. For instance, the Commission's take on competition for online readers, a decisive part of its analysis, was limited to Fairfax, NZME and the major TV and radio broadcasters. But focusing on this small pool ignores how profoundly media consumption is changing. With a phone in every pocket, more diverse and democratic forms of news are exploding. Facebook, especially, is unparalleled as an arbiter of news. For a growing number of people, it's the sole source. To pretend that it isn't competition for New Zealand journalism – that it's in a "different zone", as the Commission's Mark Berry put it – is nonsense. The Commission did at least accept that Facebook, Google and co are competitors for advertiser spending, which has always been vital to keeping the news media afloat. That's good. After all, the Commission itself spent more than 45 per cent of its advertising budget on Facebook and Youtube in 2015/16, confirming the scope of the challenge. But its analysis of why this matters was thin. The point is not just that Facebook and Google are gobbling up the revenue, though they are. It is that this dominance makes paying for journalism vastly harder – and harms their hunt for readers. The Commission made great noise out of its defence of democracy and media "plurality". Leave aside the feeling that this is more appropriate work for lawmakers (who have required no such plurality) than a regulator. The point, again, is that high ideals won't stand in for healthy companies – those are the only way to a boisterous news media. The Commission took a far too rosy view of the near future, banking on newspapers' survival, lethargy from the broadcasters, and the continued success of the companies' websites. But the market is in a state of near-constant upheaval. These are bold assumptions. Fairfax is already experimenting with change in Marlborough and chief executive Greg Hywood says, "further publishing frequency changes and consolidation of titles are an inevitability." Finally, the Commission accepted that a merged company would have saved up to $200 million in the next five years, an enormous amount that could have aided journalism substantially. Yet Berry breezily declared that the decision was not "finely balanced" at all. Where else will such savings come from? How dim will the outlook have to be to justify change? The Dominion Post will of course keep striving to produce outstanding journalism, in print and online. But at a crucial juncture, this was an opportunity missed.  - The Dominion Post

    • Newsletter
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Clyde Quay School
      • 21 February 2018 CQS Newsletter

    • Buses replacing some evening trains on KPL, HVL and JVL. Sunday 25 - Wednesday 28 February
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • BackgroundYou may have noticed the slow speed of trains when arriving and departing Wellington station. This has been due to speed restrictions which have been in place since the 30 January overhead wire disruption.Emergency work will be underway from Sunday 25 to Wednesday 28 February to fix the overhead wire issue outside Wellington station and reduce these delays. For more information visit the Rail Maintenance Projects page on the Metlink website.Service Changes - Sunday 25 to Wednesday 26 FebruaryKapiti LineThere will be evening bus replacements between Wellington and Porirua. On Sunday 25 February the 11.00pm service from Waikanae to Wellington will be bus replaced the whole way. See the service update for more detailed information. Hutt Valley LineThere will be evening bus replacements between Wellington and Upper Hutt. See the service update for more detailed information. Johnsonville LineThere will be evening bus replacements between Wellington and Johnsonville. See the service update for more detailed information. You may not be able to use these services as you normally would. If you have additional mobility needs please contact 0800 801 700 to plan your travel.For bus pick-up locations check 'Where do I catch the bus?'.Please allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains.  For more information see: http://www.metlink.org.nz/getting-around/using-a-cycle-on-ptAll folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the Journey Planner. This affects these services: HVL JVL KPL

    • Possible delays to Whitby & Porirua bus services this afternoon – repairs are being made to SH1 at Paekakariki
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • NZTA is repairing the storm damage on State Highway 1 between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki from 3:00 pm this afternoon.Traffic out of Wellington (northbound) will travel along State Highway 1. Traffic into Wellington (southbound) will be directed onto the Paekakariki Hill Road.The southbound traffic may cause congestion from Pauatahanui to  where it rejoins State Highway 1 around Gray’s Road, the Paremata roundabout and through Whitby. This additional traffic may delay some of our afternoon bus services. Allow extra travel time and check real time signs and information for updates on your bus service.Catching a Kapiti Line train may be an alternative. Check the Kapiti Line timetable.For more information visit our friends at NZTA. This affects these services: 210 211 220 226 230 236

    • Movin' March is nearly here!
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Amesbury Drive School Establishment Board of Trustees
      • March is the month when Greater Wellington Regional Council encourages all students across the region to WOW! (Walk or wheel). Let's get involved! Greater Wellington Regional Council's WOW competition is about encouraging students (and parents) to walk or wheel to school throughout March.  All students will be given a 'passport' card on 5th March that can be stamped once each day if they WOW (walk or wheel to school). Each passport has 12 stamper points. When all 12 have been stamped, they can hand in their completed card and get another one.  At the end of Movin' March (Thursday 29th March), all completed passport cards will be sent off to GWRC (school will collect them all and send them in) and students will be in with a chance to have their card drawn out to win one of six $300 Avanti vouchers.  With our sunny weather, our new pump, skills and bike tracks  AND a chance to win an Avanti voucher, why not get involved? We look forward to see you all WOWing throughout March! The Amesbury TeamBy Urs Cunningham

    • Paid Union Meeting: Skeleton staff at school on the afternoon of Tuesday 13th March
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Amesbury Drive School Establishment Board of Trustees
      • The teacher unions - NZEI and PPTA - have called a paid union meeting during school time to discuss the upcoming Collective Agreement campaign. The Primary Teachers' Collective Agreement is due to be re-negotiated this year. The Teacher Unions are worried about a number of key areas: Sufficient and timely access to learning support for students with additional learning or behaviour needs Teacher shortagesToo much administration time for teachers, affecting the amount of time they have to focus on teaching and learning NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA are the unions that represent more than 60,000 teachers and support staff who work with children from birth to year 13. They have asked all members at our school to attend meetings in March to hear more about the upcoming Collective Agreement campaign and help determine the education sector’s key focus areas. The meetings are paid union meetings. The meeting our staff will attend is being held during the teaching day on Tuesday 13th March, which means Amesbury School will be open with only a skeleton staff between 12.30pm and 3pm while staff attend the 1.30pm meeting at the Newlands Community Centre. It is important for union members in our school to attend these meetings to have a say about the proposed changes. We encourage you to pick your children up at 12:30pm on Tuesday 13th March  to enable teachers to attend this paid union meeting (or arrange someone else to do so). If this is impossible, please let the school know as early as possible so that we can ensure appropriate supervision is available for the afternoon. Please email Rachel Watson at office@amesbury.school.nz if your child will need to remain at school that day. Thank you. Nga mihi The Amesbury teamBy Urs Cunningham

    • School Notices: 21 - 28 February
      • 21 Feb 2018
      • Amesbury Drive School Establishment Board of Trustees
      • Everything you need to know around and about School for the next week. For your diary: Paid Union Meeting on Tuesday, 13th March - please read Urs's article here.  Scholastic Book Club: The latest Scholastic Book Club brochures are coming home. Please make all payments online. No payments are to come back to school. This order closes on Friday 2rd March. See Rachel at the library if you have any questions. Don't forget our upcoming promotion from Pita Pit - get in quick: It’s a $3 Pita Pit day on Friday 23rd February at Amesbury School !! Yummy pitas for only $3! That’s fantastic value.  Go to Lunchonline and order your $3 pita now!  Follow this link to order www.lunchonline.co.nz Movin' March is nearly here! Please read our article here so you can be all set to go on Monday, 5th March. Lost/Found Property: Our 'lost/found' property bins are full of fleeces already, and we also have some that have recently gone missing. Please check the name on your child's fleeces and sunhats to ensure that your child has the correct ones, and that someone else's hasn't been taken home by mistake. If this has happened please return items to the office. We also have a black and red kids jacket and all weather blanket that were left on the blue matting area after the Community Evening. Please see Rachel at the office to collect if these belong to you.  For Sale: Second Hand Uniform: x1 size 4 fleece - good condition - $20 - contact chris: chriswaughnz@gmail.com ASB $500 promotion: please see the image below for a fantastic way you can raise money for our School. If you are considering a mortgage or refinancing, please check out this promotion. By Rachael van RijAttachments 56290 12478 0617 School Banking Support School Ad SECURE   PDF, 16 KBPhoto Gallery

    • NZ Defence Policy - Dangerous Reliance on Ignorance and Eccentricity
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • OLD DUFFER POSING AS GURU? That there is an extraordinary lack of depth of understanding among the New Zealand Establishment on the international trends that lap up gently on our shores – and ‘Our Role in the World’ – used to drive me completely nuts. I used to read the newspapers where people like Chris Trotter, Joe Bennett, Rosemary McLeod and Terence O’Brien would sally forth selling ignorance and eccentricity as deep thinking and originality - and find myself wandering the promenade in Lyall Bay in a kind of blind fury, after my morning read in the Maranui Café. Nowadays there is a lot more access to overseas media and much more diversity of opinion online so the behemoths don’t have it all to themselves – and members of the hoi polloi like me can even have their own say. In this spirit I have to protest against the extraordinary twaddle recently propagated by O'Brien [who is a Senior Fellow at the NZ Centre for Strategic Studies] in his recent article ‘NZ in Iraq – What happens next? https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/101509894/nz-in-iraq--what-happens-next In this, he posits that there is some sort of ‘Coalition of the Willing’ in Iraq to which New Zealand should potentially continue to subscribe as a ‘Good World Citizen’: But given that our policymakers have, it seems, also concluded that peace support commitments under the UN no longer suit modern New Zealand (although the reasons have never been explained in public), involvements with coalitions of the willing become the default option. Such coalitions reflect, of course, quite understandably, the priorities of the coalition leader(s), and indicate support by participants for the overall policy direction. Here there some inconveniences for New Zealand. Australia has expressed its hope/expectation that New Zealand will remain committed to the joint Iraqi project. As this country's principal international partner such views cannot be brushed aside. Yet changes to the context within the Middle East must be weighed too in the balance when New Zealand reassesses the case. Well, for starters, anyone who has any knowledge of the Middle East and the Mashreq in particular [that part of the ‘Arab World’ east of Suez and west of Iran – including Israel] knows that the problems of Iraq cannot be divorced or even distinguished sometimes from those of Syria.  After all, one of the big attractions of ISIS for Sunni Arabs was that its short-lived ‘Caliphate’ did not recognize what many Arabs would regard as the totally artificial border between Iraq and Syria. And the situation in Syria looks likely now to escalate even further into Jahannam [Hell] which is also referred to in the Koran as al-Nar النار ("The Fire"), Jaheem جحيم ("Blazing Fire", Hatamah حطم ("That which Breaks to Pieces"), Haawiyah هاوية ("The Abyss"), Ladthaa لظى, Sa’eer سعير ("The Blaze") and  Saqar سقر.[“The Gate to Hell’].  This with an unprecedented maze of local and international interests which is threatening further escalation and disaster at almost every turn … … what with US troops from Iraq now deployed on the ground at Deir ez-Zor, essentially in simultaneous stand-off conflict with Turkey, Russia and Iran - under the obligation to defend Kurdish interests – while Israel, terrified that it will face Hizbollah in the Golan Heights as well as South Lebanon is ramping up the possibility of an all-out war with Iran. Quite what NZ involvement in all this is expected to achieve, is beyond me – except perhaps to please the Americans [and Trump who is surely an anathema to the new NZ Govt] and the Australians [who are playing their own game pleasing the Americans to retain a counterweight to Indian and Chinese Expansionism in SE Asia and the Indian Ocean]. As for NZ redeploying its efforts to ‘Sudan’ to help our boy there David Shearer, I would like to point out a few facts to Terence:Neither Sudan nor South Sudan are in the Middle East – they are in AfricaDavid Shearer is actually working in South Sudan – trying to assist a country torn between nominally Christian warlordsWhile there may be sound humanitarian reasons for trying to intervene in South Sudan, there is no global strategic rationale - or NZ interest other than do-goodery and mateship with Shearer.Well, I’m afraid my blood pressure is up again - and I need to go for a long walk at this point. Anyhow, if O’Brien or others at the Centre for Strategic Studies want some steerage on NZ Defence and Foreign Policy, they could do worse than start by looking at the atlas - and then at Singapore and the opportunities that it offers for policy learning and even extended possible future collaboration. SEE FOR EXAMPLE http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/the-secrets-to-small-state-survival https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Armed_Forces

    • Who will square up and protect the innocent from deceit ...? Reach out to those like Anna, who in an increasingly Post-Truth world, fully discern the chasm which divides safety from terror - and stand firm.
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • BOTS PART OF THE ASSASSINATION OF TRUTH Florida school shooting: Russian bots pounce on high school massacre in bid to manipulate gun control debate Automated Twitter accounts rush to comment in aftermath of tragedy to capitalise on deeply divided sentiment over Second Amendment: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/florida-school-shooting-latest-russian-bots-gun-control-debate-twitter-facebook-social-media-a8218916.html ‘One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate. The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. “This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.” AT THE ARENA'S EDGE The creepy clown lives between laughter and the uncanny valleyDodging side-swinging ladders and drowning in buckets of confettiChasing his car in elongated boots with a dislodged steering wheel:But if he gets too near to a little girl sitting at the ring-sideShe will blanch and grab her mother’s arm for protection. Beyond the charades and the farces and the buffooneryThose who are close see how the ring-masters are workingTo woo the crowd with high wire thrills and cowed tigers -Fleecing and filching the takings, orchestrating the Big Top.Then they send in the clowns: isn’t it rich, don’t you despair? Who will square up and protect the innocent from deceitBy the harlequin suits and greasy visages of the Media CircusPeddling propaganda, distortion, spin, misspeaking and the Big Lie?Reach out to those like Anna, who in an increasingly Post-Truth world,Fully discern the chasm which divides safety from terror - and stand firm. [From KJWZ 11 October 2016] So what am I guilty of? | Anna Politkovskaya “Koverny,” a Russian clown whose job in the olden days was to keep the audience laughing while the circus arena was changed between acts. If he failed to make them laugh, the ladies and gentlemen booed him and the management sacked him. Almost the entire present generation of Russian journalists, and those sections of the mass media which have survived to date, are clowns of this kind, a Big top of kovernys whose job is to keep the public entertained and, if they do have to write about anything serious, then merely to tell everyone how wonderful the Pyramid of Power is in all its manifestations. The Pyramid of Power is something President Putin has been busy constructing for the past five years, in which every official – from top to bottom, the entire bureaucratic hierarchy – is appointed either by him personally or by his appointees. It is an arrangement of the state which ensures that anybody given to thinking independently of their immediate superior is promptly removed from office. In Russia the people thus appointed are described by Putin’s Presidential Administration, which effectively runs the country, as “on side.” Anybody not on side is an enemy. The vast majority of those working in the media support this dualism. Their reports detail how good on-side people are, and deplore the despicable nature of enemies. The latter include liberally inclined politicians, human rights activists, and “enemy” democrats, who are generally characterised as having sold out to the West. An example of an on-side democrat is, of course, President Putin himself. The newspapers and television give top priority to detailed “exposés” of the grants enemies have received from the West for their activities. Journalists and television presenters have taken enthusiastically to their new role in the Big Top. The battle for the right to convey impartial information, rather than act as servants of the Presidential Administration, is already a thing of the past. An atmosphere of intellectual and moral stagnation prevails in the profession to which I too belong, and it has to be said that most of my fellow journalists are not greatly troubled by this reversion from journalism to propagandising on behalf of the powers that be. They openly admit that they are fed information about enemies by members of the Presidential Administration, and are told what to cover and what to steer clear of.What happens to journalists who don’t want to perform in the Big Top? They become pariahs. I am not exaggerating.You don’t get used to this, but you learn to live with it. It is exactly the way I have had to work throughout the Second War in the North Caucasus. To begin with I was hiding from the Russian federal troops, but always able to make contact clandestinely with individuals through trusted intermediaries, so that my informants would not be denounced to the generals. When Putin’s place of Chechenisation succeeded (setting “good” Chechens loyal to the Kremlin to killing “bad” Chechens who opposed it), the same subterfuge applied when talking to “good” Chechen officials. The situation is no different in Moscow, or in Kabardino-Balkaria, or Ingushetia. The virus is very widespread.At least a circus performance does not last long, and the regime availing itself of the services of clownish journalist has the longevity of a mouldering mushroom. Purging the news has produced a blatant lie orchestrated by officials eager to promote a “correct image of Russia under Putin.” Even now it is producing tragedies the regime cannot cope with and which can sink their aircraft carrier, no matter how invincible it may appear. The small town of Kondopoga in Karelia, on the border with Finland, was the scene of vodka-fuelled anti-Caucasian race riots which resulted in several deaths. Nationalistic parades and racially motivated attacks by “patriots” are a direct consequence of the regime’s pathological lying and the lack of any real dialogue between the state authorities and the Russian people. The state closes its eyes to the fact that the majority of our people live in abject poverty, and that the real standard of living outside of Moscow is much lower than claimed. The corruption within Putin’s Pyramid of Power exceeds even the highs previously attained, and a younger generation is growing up both ill-educated, and militant because of their poverty.I loathe the current ideology which divides people into those who are “on side,” “not on side,” or even “on the wrong side.” If a journalist is on side he or she will receive awards and honours, and perhaps be invited to become a Deputy in the Duma. Invited, mind, not elected. We don’t have parliamentary elections any more in the traditional sense of the word, with campaigning, publication of manifestos, debates. In Russia the Kremlin summons those who are irreproachably on side, who salute at the right times, and they are enlisted in the United Russia party, with all that entails.Today a journalist who is not on side is an outcast. I have never sought my present pariah status and it makes me feel like a beached dolphin. I am no political infighter.I will not go into the other joys of the path I have chosen: the poisoning, the arrests, the menacing by email and over the Internet, the telephoned death threats. The main thing is to get on with my job, to describe the life I see, to receive visitors every day in our newspaper’s offices who have nowhere else to bring their troubles, because the Kremlin finds their stories off-message. The only place they can be aired is in our newspaper, Novaya gazeta. What am I guilty of? I have merely reported what I witnessed, nothing but the truth.Published in a special issue of Soyuz Zhurnalistov, 26 October 2006 

    • Gita
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Eye of the Fish
      • Well, that was fun! Nothing quite like a good old blow. It’s still dark as I write this, but the coming dawn are going to show us a fair bit of damage. “A wet and windy day for most areas” as they say. I’m picking that some of our well-loved buildings may have been damaged, possibly beyond repair. The Boatshed in Nelson for instance – damaged in the last storm – I’m picking it will have been further damage and maybe it is no longer even there. The cute little shed on the edge of Days Bay that pokes out into the Harbour – reckon it will have survived? Or is it toast? What about the sheds above the water over at Shelley Bay? Seeing as they are in a parlous state of repair, will they still survive?

    • Yoko Ono - Hillary Clinton romance corroborated
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • RUSSIAN SOURCES CONFIRM YOKO ONO – HILLARY CLINTON TIPPING THE VELVET KJWNZ Eastern European correspondent Gabriella Braun / 'Saskya' has just filed from a telephone box near Omsk with the above photo sourced from her contact, former KGB officer Vlad the Inveigler, which confirms one of the most notorious of all Gal Pal Pashes – that between Yoko Ono and Hillary Clinton around 1970. Vlad has not only provided photographic evidence but has also been able to supply two previously missing verses to Yoko’s song 'Sisters O Sisters' which make it plain that, as originally written, it was a love song for her ‘Little Rocky Gopher’. To recapitulate: On 8 May 2015, World News Daily Report published an article titled “‘Yoko Ono: ‘I Had an Affair with Hillary Clinton in the ’70s.'” According to that article, Yoko Ono (widow of John Lennon) “shocked reporters” at a press conference on 7 May 2015 when she casually admitted to a decades-earlier intimate partnering with former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton: “We met many times during the New York Vietnam War protests in the 1970s and became very intimate. We shared many of the same values about sexual equality, fighting against the authoritarian, patriarchal, male-dominated society we were raised in” she explained. “We had a brief romantic fling when I lived with John in Manhattan and Hillary was studying at Yale, but eventually we lost touch. I am amazed how things are going well for her and wish her the best for her campaign” she told reporters during the press conference. https://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/yokohillary.asp SISTERS O SISTERS We lost our green land We lost our clean air We lost our true wisdom And we live in despair Sisters, O sistersLet’s stand up right now It's never too late To start from the start Wisdom, O wisdom That's what we ask for And yes, my dear sisters We must learn to ask Wisdom, O wisdom That's what we ask for That's what we live for nowWisdom, O wisdom That's what we ask for That's what we live for nowSisters, O sisters Let's wake up right on It's never too late To shout from our heartsFreedom, O freedom That's what we fight for And yes, my dear sisters We must learn to fightFreedom, O freedom That's what we ask for That's what we live for nowFreedom, O freedom That's what we ask for That's what we live for now Hillary O HillaryI loved you so muchHillary O HillaryI miss your touch. Hillary O HillaryYou were fem and I was butchI was fig and you were cherryThrilling frilly bits and such. Sisters, O sisters Let's give up no more It's never too late To build a new world New world, O New world That's what we live for And yes, my dear sisters We must learn to live New world, O New world That's what we live for That's what we must now learn to buildNew world, O New world That's what we live for That's what we must now learn to buildNew world, O New world That's what we live for That's what we must now learn to buildNew world, O New world That's what we live for That's what we must learn to build Songwriters: Yoko OnoSisters, O Sisters lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC MORE ABOUT OUR GABRIELLA [AKA ‘IVAN OSOBIST’]

    • KPL: Services on the KPL are experiencing delays of up to 25 mins due to a signals issue
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Due to a signals issue between Plimmerton and Paekakariki services on the Kapiti Line are experiencing delays of up to 25 minutes.Delays:The 8:44pm service from Wellington to Waikanae is running approximately 23 minutes late from Paekakariki. The 9:00pm service from Waikanae to Wellington is running approximately 15 minutes late from Plimmerton. What is a Signal FaultA signal relays information to the train driver on the state of the line ahead. These are red, yellow and green lights which provide direction on speed or tell the driver to stop. If a signal stops working the train staff follow procedures to safely pass. The driver may have to contact the control centre and get the okay to proceed. The train is also likely to travel slower through the area controlled by the signal as an additional safety measure.For more information on signal faults and the impact it has on services, please see 'What Delays Trains'. Apologies for the delays, we appreciate your patience during this time.Check back for further updates throughout the evening. This affects these services: KPL

    • Pink Ball Reminder
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Waikanae Golf Club
      • This Sunday (25th February) is the ever popular Pink Ball (PDF). You will be pleased to know that each team will be supplied with a new pink golf ball. Thankfully, gone are the days the team is given a second hand, scuffed (or worse)  old duffer.

    • Results – Sunday 18th February 2018
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Waikanae Golf Club
      • Congratulations to Kevin Smith and Dave Barrow who won the Combined Stroke Cup (PDF) with a score of 136. Alan Whitton and Jim Robb were second on 137, with Rob Naylor and Adam Walding pipping Gary Coutts and Mark Mitchell on count back at 140.

    • Some Support for Judith Collins becoming the Leader of the National Party
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • MUNDO SEGURIDAD Publicada el 08/05/2016 "Johnny Bondtrader", también en los "Panama Papers" Por: Gerardo Venegas La firma legal Mossack Fonseca incorporó a empresas de nombre Goldfinger, Crusher, SkyFall, GoldenEye, Oravida, Moonraker, Whale Oil y Octopussy, relacionados a las películas del agente secreto Panamá.- El despacho legal panameño Mossack Fonseca en el centro de un escándalo de filtración de documentos sobre cuentas en el exterior conocido como "Panama Papers", habría incorporado una serie de empresas con los nombres de las películas de James Bond. El Proyecto de Reporteo sobre Crimen Organizado y Corrupción (OCCR, por sus siglas en inglés) que tuvo acceso a los documentos filtrados, dice que la firma legal Mossack Fonseca incorporó a empresas de nombre Goldfinger, Crusher, SkyFall, Teapot Tape, GoldenEye, Oravida, Moonraker, Whale Oil y Octopussy. También hay nombres de empresas como Blofeld, Hager y Spectre, como los villanos de las películas del agente secreto. Al parecer hay un cliente de nombre Austin Powers, que aparentemente es su nombre real. En Nueva Zelanda, el Servicio de Administración Tributaria investiga a 33 personas vinculadas a los llamados "Papeles de Panamá", para determinar si incurrieron en una evasión fiscal o delitos financieros. Gobiernos de todo el mundo están indagando filtraciones de más de 11.5 millones de documentos del bufete de abogados panameño Mossack Fonseca, especializado en crear empresas en paraísos fiscales, que mostraron cómo políticos y personajes públicos han evitado el pago de impuestos. Con información de: AP  WORLD SECURITY Published on 05/08/2016 "Johnny Bondtrader" also in the "Panama Papers" By: Gerardo Venegas The law firm Mossack Fonseca created shell companies named Goldfinger, Crusher, Skyfall, Teapot Tape, GoldenEye, Oravida, Moonraker, Whale Oil and Octopussy, relating to the films of the Secret Agent.   The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in the center of a scandal of leaked documents on accounts abroad known as "Panama Papers"  incorporated a number of companies with the names of James Bond movies. Project Reporting on Organized Crime and Corruption (OCCR, for its acronym in English) which had access to the leaked documents, said the law firm Mossack Fonseca created companies named Goldfinger, Crusher, Skyfall, Teapot Tape, GoldenEye, Oravida, Moonraker, Whale Oil and Octopussy. There are also names of companies like Blofeld, Hager and Spectre - the villains of the movie secret agent. Apparently there is a client named John Banks, which is apparently his real name. The files also expose the behind-the-scenes Ms Moneypenny aka Señora Tituradora In Mexico, the Tax Administration is investigating 33 people linked to the so-called “Panama Papers" to determine whether they are involved in tax evasion and financial crime. Governments around the world are investigating leaks of more than 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in creating offshore companies. These show how politicians and public figures have avoided paying taxes. With information from AP JUDITH COLLINS GETS THE BIRD RAVENS  PILE UP AS RAVENNA RETURNS Over the six years that I have been publishing this magazine, I have paused every now and then to berate the staidness of the NZ Media and the general absence of humour. Things have changed and a new breed of political commentators has taken to heart the admonition 'Don't Just Whine - Take the Piss!' Savour this delightful recent piece from the online website 'The Civilian' about our 'Snow White and the Huntsman' / Evil [Right-Libertarian] Queen Judith Collins: http://www.thecivilian.co.nz/nation-learns-of-judith-collins-reappointment-via-dead-ravens-on-their-lawn-darkening-skies/ POLITICS Nation learns of Judith Collins’ reappointment via dead ravens on their lawn, darkening skies 08/12/2015 at 4:22 pm An unexplained thick tar has begun washing up on the beaches of New Zealand after Judith Collins was reappointed to the Ministry of Corrections.In an ever-changing media landscape, New Zealanders are increasingly getting their news less and less from traditional sources.This was the case yesterday, as a majority of Kiwis reported receiving the news that Judith Collins had been reappointed to her Cabinet position as Corrections Minister, not from the usual outlets such as newspapers or television, but instead from the swirling and ever-darkening skies, dead ravens piling up on their front lawns, and an unseasonal chill wind.“And I think at some point a loud, ominous bell tolled, just before the lightning began,” said 36-year-old Hamilton resident Gary Oakshaw. “There was also a distinct smell of dead rats in the air, but I think that’s just ‘cause I live in Hamilton.”Other Hamiltonians spoken to confirmed the smell of dead rats had been occurring for “years and years.”But several other phenomena, also present elsewhere in the country, were new to Monday afternoon, including raging pits of flame bursting forth from the earth, and the image of Collins appearing in children’s’ bedroom mirrors.“It is fascinating how things are changing,” remarked veteran journalist and broadcaster Bill Ralston. “There was a time when people consumed the news in a much more orderly fashion; it was by appointment, really. You read the newspaper in the morning, watched the six o’clock news at night, and that was it, anything that happened in between you’d learn about at the next interval, so to speak, and go on with your life.“Nowadays, people are getting the news all day, every day, on their phones, on their computers, their tablets, or via the mass migration of birds, stench of death, bloodcurdling howls and Ouija boards lighting on fire that comes with, say, Judith Collins being reappointed to Cabinet. So it’s all very different.”Wellington mother-of-two-mothers Gladys Underwood said she knew “straight away” that Collins had returned to her post, when all the china tea sets in her house spontaneously shattered at once, and a visceral rumbling was heard from the bowels of the earth.The consumption of yesterday’s news stands in stark contrast to the way New Zealanders learned of Judith Collins’ dismissal from Cabinet. At that time, once-polluted rivers became clear, the country’s babies collectively stopped crying all at once, several species returned from extinction, and Prime Minister John Key’s hair began to grow back. JUDITH COLLINS: NAKED IN LONDON - BUT STILL ON HER HIGH HORSE NOTHING TO SEE ‘Judith Collins 'regrets' Oravida interactions’http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10013696/Judith-Collins-regrets-Oravida-interactions Judith Collins joins the anti-corruption party in Londonhttps://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/judith-collins-joins-anti-corruption-party-in-london

    • JVL: Some services on the Johnsonville line will have reduced seating this evening.
      • 20 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • The following Johnsonville line services will have reduced seating due to a smoke alarm fault:The 4:32pm service from Wellington to JohnsonvilleThe 5:32pm service from Wellington to JohnsonvilleThe 6:32pm service from Wellington to Johnsonville The 5:00pm service from Johnsonville to WellingtonThe 6:00pm service from Johnsonville to WellingtonThe 7:00pm service from Johnsonville to Wellington We apologise for any inconvenience caused. This affects these services: JVL

    • Albatrosses and petrels of the Auckland Islands
      • 19 Feb 2018
      • Te Papa's blog
      • The remote Auckland Islands 370 km south of Stewart Island are tiny specks of land in the middle of a vast ocean. This makes them important breeding grounds for many species of seabirds and seals that forage in surrounding seas. Bird experts Colin Miskelly and Alan Tennyson visited the islands in late January, and here... Read more »

    • Black Milk for your Comfortable Morning Coffee
      • 19 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • Ghayath Almadhoun, trans. Catherine Cobham Black Milk You emerge from behind the scenes, I emerge from behind the nightmares, smiling as if the war hasn’t eaten my brother, and in those days, when my Syrian friends were dying under torture, my European friends were gently withdrawing from my wound which scratched their white lives and didn’t conform in any way to accepted Western criteria of what constitutes pain.*In those days I used to whisper in your ear the things that a man whispers to a woman when he’s eating her, and in the same space-time where you were sleeping calmly like a lake in the north of Sweden, the war was sitting on the edge of my bed as if it was my wife and the verses of the Quran that I was forced to learn by heart when the primary school teacher beat me were the only thing that helped me sleep. Oh God, the wolf has eaten a piece of my heart and the barrel bombs have destroyed my notebook. Oh God, the wolf has eaten me for real, not metaphorically, and the Mediterranean has drowned my water. I’m the one who used to ‘walk on this earth joyfully’, as it says in the Quran, but they stole my friends and suicided1 them in Damascus and the glass of water that used to moisten my thirst was smashed. Poets have inherited my fingers, my friends have become memories, highwaymen on highways already blocked off, I mean on highways between cities besieged by hunger and adrenaline, and in the same space-time where I enjoy a life of luxury in the far north of Europe in a country containing 97,500 lakes of sweet water, my mother tells me that she is thirsty and I remember the novel The Outsider… and try not to remember Albert Camus.*Smiling as if the war hasn’t eaten my brotherI climb Mount Carmel like a vine trellisTo appear beside you in the family photoAnd you stand beside me bitter as truthAnd warm as a bulletAnd long like Sunday.A woman with a memory riddled with holesThrough which my heart leaks out in the shape of a butterflyWhenever I think legal thoughts about herMy heart refuses to submit to Islamic lawAnd poetry refuses to obey me by repeating the outworn metaphors of classical poetsThe bank refuses to give me a loan so that I can buy a horseWarlords refuse to become peacelordsChildren refuse to play with me as I walk through the neighbourhoodBecause their parents have warned them against strangersI shan’t teach my children to fear strangersFor I am one of themI won’t say to them don’t talk to the strange manFor that man is meI am the stranger who lost his hand in the warThe widower whose wife is not deadThe migrant who didn’t drown in the MediterraneanThe believer who kissed you by the mosque wallSo the shaykh trembled in his prayers fearing the wrath of GodThe refugee they searchedAnd whose memories they found hidden among cunning answersI’m the one who loved you savagelyAnd kissed you without knowing the difference between your face and silenceAround your house I howl like a wounded wolfAnd in your pitch-black night I light faint purple like a cigarette’s glow in the darkWhenever I say your name my heart stuttersAs if I’m being born once again from my mother’s wombAs if I’m touching your waist with my missing handWhenever I pass my tongue over your skin my poem stumblesWheneverBut I touch your wellspring to moisten my heart that is cracked with drynessWheneverBut I drink your voice that is moistened with water so that thirst does not kill meBut*My fingerprints that they found on your skin, your blood that wetted my right hand, the wolves that snap at my waist when I smell your voice, the green that trickles from your hand wounded by the rose, my tongue that pronounces your name in classical Aramaic, my crosswords inside you. How I would do my ablutions in wine before touching you, how the watchman caught me gathering the hornets’ honey dripping from your nipples, how my heart that was accustomed to eating women’s fingers became vegetarian in your presence. You are the Surah of the Poets, the essence of the women of the Middle East and North Africa. For your sake I re-write the rules of Arabic grammar making them conform to the measurements of your waist and I kill the dead metaphor once again.*I look in the mirror and see your faceThe poem slips out of my handI hear the scent of a woman eating my fingersThe Mediterranean Sea drowns in the immigration departmentThe water grows thirstyI remove your features from my face in order to recognise myselfAnd my notebook loses its memoryThe official in the immigration department asks:Where are you from?I answer:I don’t know for I’m not yet marriedAnd he refuses my asylum applicationAnd the United Nations refuses the colour of my skinAnd the international community refuses to look directly at my woundAt that moment when time becomes dark as Rembrandt’s paintingsAnd feeling becomes cold as the corpses of my friendsYou emerge from behind the scenesJust like thatWithout introductionsOr explanationsOr a logical interpretationAnd grant me asylum for sentimental reasons*How do you know the road to Damascus when you’ve never been down it?How do you kill geography when the distance between us is made of metalThat expands with the heatAnd shrinks when I kill my suitcase.*This world is falling from the seventh floorAnd sparrows commit suicide so that time doesn’t precede themTime that sits like a dull guest between usAnd looks at youMe and you and time make fourA man and a woman have never met except when time was the fourth person in the room.*In those days we knew that he was going to kill us all, but we didn’t know that the world would stand by in silence.*In those days I stuck to you like a postage stamp and you were afraid because my heart was so hot, and people confused us with one another since my features got mixed up with your way of walking, and we were confused by people, since the city became unfit for death after it had turned into a huge repository for my stereotyped metaphors about you.*In those days, when I used to whisper to you that you were the Surah of the Women and the most fertile woman in the Tropic of Cancer, terrorism was striking at the heart of Europe, and my heart that could bear five barbaric wars stutters when it says your name and my European friends withdraw from me quietly, and I remember how the Europeans withdrew from their Jewish friends seventy years ago, and I remember the black milk.And I try not to remember Paul Celan.*In those days when I loved you gently, terrorism struck violently, and my heart that could look at a fresh wound directly without flinching became smooth as a snake and the Twin Towers collapsed time after time after time in my European friends’ fantasies, and the French Revolution was only a victory in history books and a defeat in geography books, and I remember the black milk.*In those daysWhen I loved you gentlyThe great migrations crossed Europe violentlyAnd Paul Celan emerged from the River SeineAnd with his wet hand tapped me on the shoulderAnd in a trembling voice whispered in my earDon’t drink the black milkDon’t drink … the black… milkDon’t drinkDon’tAnd disappeared among the groups of Syrians marching northwards.*In those days I was still trying not to remember Paul Celan and the Dead Sea was alive and live broadcasts were dead.1 The poet has coined ‘suicide’ as a transitive verb in Arabic, although, like in English, it doesn’t exist in this form. He wishes to preserve it in translation as its incongruity represents the large section of the Syrian opposition killed by the regime, which then claims they have committed suicide. ↩ الحليب الأسودتخرجينَ من وراءِ الكواليس، أخرجُ من وراءِ الكوابيس، مبتسمًا كأنَّ الحربَ لم تأكلْ أخي، وفي تلك الأيّام، حين كان أصدقائي السوريّون يموتون تحت التعذيب، كان أصدقائي الأوروبيّون ينسحبون بهدوءٍ من جرحي الذي يخدشُ حياتهم البيضاءَ، ولا يتناسبُ في أيِّ حالٍ من الأحوال مع المعايير الغربية المتعارف عليها عن شكل الألم.في تلك الأيّام، كنتُ أهمسُ في أُذنكِ بما يهمسُ به رجلٌ لامرأةٍ حين يأكلها، وفي نفس الزمكان الذي كنتِ تنامين فيه بهدوءٍ مثل بحيرةٍ في شمال السويد، كانتِ الحربُ تجلسُ على حافة سريري كأنّها زوجتي، وكانت آيات القرآن التي ضربَني معلّم الابتدائية، كي أحفظها هي الشيءُ الوحيدُ الذي يساعدني على النوم، يا الله، لقد أكلَ الذئبُ قطعةً من قلبي، ودمّرتِ البراميلُ دفتري. يا الله، لقد أكلني الذئبُ حقيقةً لا مجازًا، وأغرقَ المتوسّطُ مائي. أنا الذي كنتُ أمشي في الأرض مَرَحًا، لكنهم سرقوا أصدقائي و"انتحروهم" في دمشق، فانكسرَ كأسُ الماء البارد الذي كان يبلّلُ عَطَشي، وورثَ الشعراءُ أصابعي، أصدقائي أصبحوا ذكرياتٍ، قُطَّاع طُرُقٍ مقطوعةٍ أصلًا، أقصدُ قُطَّاع أوتوستراداتٍ بين مُدُنٍ محاصرةٍ بالجوع والأدرينالين، وفي نفس الزمكان الذي أتمتّعُ فيه بالرفاهية في أقصى شمال أوروبا، في بلدٍ يحوي سبعًا وتسعين ألفًا وخمسمئة بحيرةٍ من الماء العذب، تخبرني أمّي أنّها عطشانة، فأتذكّر رواية الغريب......وأحاول ألا أتذكّرُ ألبير كامو.بصماتُ أصابعي التي وجدوها على جلدكِ، دَمُكِ الذي بلَّلَ يدي اليمنى، الذئابُ التي تنهشُ خاصرتي حين أشمُّ صوتَكِ، الأخضرُ الذي ينزُّ من يدكِ التي جرحتْها الوردةُ، لساني الذي يلفظ اسمَكِ بالآرامية الفصحى، كلماتي المتقاطعة فيكِ، كيف كنتُ أتوضّأُ بالنبيذِ قبلَ أنْ أَمُسَّكِ، كيف أمسكني الناطورُ أقطفُ عسلَ الدبابيرِ الذي ينقطُ من حلمتَيكِ، كيف قلبي الذي اعتادَ أنْ يأكلَ أصابعَ النساءِ يصبحُ نباتيًا أمامكِ، أنتِ سورةُ الشعراء، خلاصةُ نساء الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، لأجلكِ، أُعيدُ كتابة قواعدِ اللغةِ العربيةِ، بما يتناسبُ مع مقاسِ خصرِكِ، وأقتلُ المجازَ الميتَ مرَّةً أُخرى. كيف تعرفين طريقَ دمشقَ دون أنْ تمرِّي بها؟!كيف تقتلينَ الجغرافيا والمسافةُ بيننا معدنيةٌ؟!تتمدَّدُ بالحرارة،وتتقلَّصُ حين أقتلُ حقيبةَ السفر.هذا العالم يسقطُ من الطابق السابعِ،والعصافير تنتحرُ، كيلا يسبقها الوقتُ،الوقتُ الذي يجلسُ مثل ضيفٍ ثقيلٍ بينناوينظرُ إليكِ،أنا وأنتِ والوقتُ رابعنا،ما اجتمعَ رجلٌ وامرأةٌ إلا وكان الوقتُ رابعهم.وفي تلك الأيّام، كنّا نعلمُ أنَّه سيقتلنا جميعًا، لكننا لم نكن نعلمُ أنَّ العالمَ سيقفُ صامتًا.وفي تلك الأيّام، كنتُ ألتصقُ بكِ، كما لو أنَّني طابعُ بريدٍ، فتخافين من سخونةِ قلبي، وكان الناس يحتارون بيننا مذ اختلطتْ ملامحي مع مشيتِكِ، وكنّا نحن نحتارُ بالناس، مذ أصبحتِ المدينة غيرَ صالحةٍ للموتِ بعد أن تحوّلت إلى مستودعٍ كبيرٍ لاستعاراتي المَكنية عنكِ.وفي تلك الأيّام، حين كنتُ أهمسُ لكِ أنكِ أنتِ سورة النساء، وأخصبُ امرأةٍ في مدار السرطان، كان الإرهابُ يضربُ وسطَ أوروبا، وكان قلبي الذي يستطيع أنْ يتحمّلَ خمسةَ حروبٍ همجية، يُتأتئ حين يلفظُ اسمكِ، وكان أصدقائي الأوروبيّون ينسحبون منّي بهدوء، فأتذكّرُ كيف انسحبَ الأوروبيّون من أصدقائهم اليهود قبل سبعين عامًا، وأتذكّرُ الحليب الأسود......وأحاول ألا أتذكّرَ بول سيلان.وفي تلك الأيّام، حين كنتُ أحبّكِ بلطف، كان الإرهاب يضرب بعُنف، وكان قلبي الذي يستطيع أنْ ينظر إلى جرحٍ ساخنٍ مباشرةً دون أنْ يرتجف، يصبح ناعمًا كالأفعى، فينهار برج التجارة العالميّ مرّةً بعد مرّةٍ بعد مرّةٍ في خيالاتِ أصدقائي الأوروبيّين، وتنتصر الثورة الفرنسية في كُتُب التاريخ فقط، وتنهزم في كُتُب الجغرافيا، وأنا أتذكّر الحليب الأسود.........وفي تلك الأيّام،حين كنتُ أحبّكِ بلطف،كانت الهجراتُ العُظمى تقطعُ وسط أوروبا بعُنف،وكان بول سيلان يخرجُ من نهر السين،وبيدهِ المبلّلةِ يُرَبِّتُ على كتفي،وبصوتهِ المرتجف يهمسُ في أذني:لا تشربوا الحليب الأسود...لا تشربوا... الحليب... الأسودلا تشربوا...لا......ويختفي بين جموعِ السوريّين السائرين إلى الشمال.وفي تلك الأيّام، كنتُ لا أزال أحاولُ ألا أتذكّر بول سيلان، فيحيا البحر الميت، ويموت البثّ الحي.٢٠١٦ Ghayath Almadhoun (b. 1979) is a Palestinian poet who was born and raised in a refugee camp in Damascus. In 2006 he co-founded Bayt al-Qasid, “The House of Poetry," together with Syrian poet Lukman Derky in Damascus. He has published four books in Arabic, and it has been translated into many other languages. In 2014, his collaboration with Marie Silkeberg, Till Damaskus, was published in Sweden. In 2017, a selection of his work, Adrenalin, was published in the U.S.Catherine Cobham is head of Department of Arabic and Persian at the University of St. Andrews and has translated the works of many Arab writers, inluding Naguib Mahfouz, Mahmoud Darwish, Fuad al-Takarli, Yusuf Idris, and Hanan al-Shaykh.

    • School open
      • 19 Feb 2018
      • Clyde Quay School
      • Our school will be open today, Tuesday 20th February.  We are expecting heavy rain and strong winds, so please ensure children have appropriate weather proof clothing.

    • Rainbow Chan
      • 19 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Rainbow Chan is a singer, producer and multi-disciplinary artist. Since winning FBi Radio’s Northern Lights Competition (2011), Chan has built a reputation as one of the most innovative artists in Australia with her idiosyncratic brand of pop and vibrant aesthetics. She often draws on nostalgia, diaspora and her Chinese heritage—the result is a collage of seemingly disparate sounds and cultures. Her debut album Spacings (Silo Arts) was chosen as feature album on FBi, Radio Adelaide, RTRFM, and received 4 stars from Rolling Stone. She scored FBi’s most played artist and song of 2016, and received two SMAC Award nominations for Best Live Act and Record of the Year. ​Chan has toured extensively including performances at the Sydney Opera House, Iceland Airwaves, Vivid, Mona Foma and Melbourne Music Week. In October 2016, she was invited to perform at Longli International New Media Arts Festival, China. She has worked with MusicNSW as a mentor for Women in Electronic Music, and was a recipient of an Opportunity Development Grant. Most recently, Chan soundtracked the ABC documentary, “The Glass Bedroom”. Rainbow has released FABRICA Ep in 2017 (Healthy Tapes). Its lead single “Let Me” won Best Song of 2017 in FBi Radio’s Sydney Music, Arts & Culture Awards. Photo credit: Jonno Revanche

    • Millions for poor may be grabbed by landlords
      • 19 Feb 2018
      • Newswire.co.nz
      •   Alan Johnson after the official launch of the State of the Nation Landlords, not tenants, may cash in on the extra $400 million the Government will pump into the accommodation supplement from April 1. Author of the Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report, Alan Johnson, says raising incomes is not a solution to the rental crisis. “You can top incomes up and all it does is either displaces other people or causes prices to rise, “So I’ve got another $20 in my pocket but my rent costs me another $20. I’m no better off.” When asked whether recent rental increases in Wellington were due to increased student allowance and student loan payments, Mr Johnson said there was not enough evidence yet to support that theory, but he believed they were related. “I think they are related but the evidence isn’t strong to prove that.” “I think the forthcoming adjustments to the accommodation supplement, which will see $400 million of extra money, go into the accommodation supplement and rental markets, I think that’s going to have a real opportunity to test that theory.” Mr Johnson, a social policy analyst in the Salvation Army, says the only solution to the rental crisis is building more houses. In a statement, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Phil Twyford, said the Government were going to monitor the impact of increases to the accommodation supplement. Mr Twyford says the Government wants to make life better for tenants. “I have committed to a targeted review of the Residential Tenancies Act which will get underway this year. The review will advance a range of changes to make life better for renters and will include consideration of banning letting fees and limiting rent increases to once per year, “This review is expected to result in legislation being introduced to Parliament by the end of the year.” Mr Twyford said the best way to improve life for renters is to increase the housing supply, an area the Governments Kiwibuild and urban growth reforms hopes to address. The new accommodation supplement rates will come into effect on April 1 2018. Some people will see their accommodation supplement increase by $80 a week, depending on the area they live in and the number of people in their household. Mr Johnson says there is no short term solution to the rental crisis many people are experiencing. “Clearly the only thing that is going to happen is people are going to have to cope.” While Mr Johnson predicts there will be some market responses to the current state of the rental market in New Zealand, he does not believe it will be enough. “We just have to build more houses.”    

    • 2018 Wellington Round the Bays Runs and Walks: A Poem and some Reflections on 'the spiral of that shimmering day'
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • Nearly 14,500 people turned out this year for the 2018 'Round the Bays' runs and walks. I was sort of one of them but was there largely supporting my spouse for the 10 km. As Evans Bay is one of the bays in question, I thought that the participants might enjoy my poem and reflections from a few years ago A POEM AND SOME REFLECTIONS FOR THE PARTICIPANTS MORNING WALK AT EVANS BAY Then time took up the koru sun That coiled and edged the bay Burned and in its heaven spun The spiral of that shimmering day And waves fell tilted from the spill To topple there and then at last lay still. There the gyre and there the strand In progress set to play and turn The thrower takes the cast to hand And catches ripples in return So the steady foot step trails And dusts the trace where imprint fails.

    • * STAGE – Baobab Oasis Stage *
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Warm up & end up when Baobab Cafe present, Topknot, Steppa D, Manray, Major Minor, & special guests Mikki Dee, Pet Johnson, The Jewel School, Mr. Lovebucket & Sunray. Sunday 4 March, 11am-Midnite Baobab Cafe, Back-a-yard 152 Riddiford St, Newtown Powered by Sounds Almighty Selectors.

    • Clube do Choro
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Newtown Festival
      • Clube do Choro are New Zealand’s very own Brazilian Choro band. Choro is often considered to be the Brazilian equivalent of Jazz, and it is Clube do Choro’s mission to spread this exciting music across NZ. Fuelled by the combination of Brazilian drum (pandeiro), percussive guitar, horns, flute, and vocals, their music is high energy and has been stirring the dance floor in and around the Wellington region since 2009. Clube do Choro can regularly be seen performing in many of the most popular music venues in Wellington including the Southern Cross, Havana, Rogue and Vagabond, Laundry bar, The Grand, Bebemos, Hashigo Zake, Meow, San Francisco Bath House, and more. This band is mostly made up of professional musicians, some of whom can also be seen performing in many other notable Wellington-based groups such as Samba Society, Tunes of I, Balkanistas, Big Troubles, and the Wellington Jazz orchestra. Some previous performances include: Cuba Dupa / Wellington Jazz Festival / Island Bay Festival / Aro Valley Fair / Live Brazil – Brazilian art festival in Wellington / Reel Brazil – Brazilian Film Festival in Wellington / MIA Latin Festival, Latin Women Association of Wellington Festival

    • In Praise of Old Poets
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • Poets by Janet Frame If poets die young they bequeath two thirds of their life to the critics to graze and grow fat in visionary grass. If poets die in old age they live their own lives they write their own poems they are their own might-have-been. Young dead poets are prized comets. The critics queue with their empty wagons ready for hitching. Old living poets stay faithfully camouflaged in their own sky. It may even be forgotten they have been shining for so long. The reminder comes upon their falling extinguished into the earth. The sky is empty, the sun and moon have gone away, there are not enough street bulbs, glow-worms, fireflies to give light and for a time it seems there will be no more stars.  -- This poem was one of many that Janet Frame (1924-2004) never published in her lifetime. The Pocket Mirror appeared in the late 1960s in the UK, America and New Zealand and has never been out of print, and many of the poems have become classics. 

    • New Zealand at the Venice Biennale: Our most ambitious learning resource yet
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Te Papa's blog
      • Head of Learning Innovation Miri Young introduces a digital learning resource for teachers which bridges the gap between New Zealand and Venice, and brings the digital artwork Lisa Reihana: Emissaries into classrooms. What is the Venice Biennale Some people refer to the Venice Biennale or La Biennale di Venezia as an ‘Art Olympics’. Countries from all... Read more »

    • Katharine Gun and Emma Sky - and their contributions on Iraq
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Keith Johnson
      • FORTUNE’S DAUGHTERS I was very taken by the story that ran in The Guardian this morning which reports on the film that is being released, starring Keira Knightley, about the arraignment and disgrace of Katharine Gun who blew the whistle from the UK’s spy-centre GCHQ on a directive to its staff that: asked her and her colleagues to help the US government spy on UN security council delegations in New York. The belief was that doing so would help the US and UK governments to swing wavering countries in favour of a planned invasion of Iraq. ‘The story of Katharine Gun, her bravery, and her preparedness to stick her neck out when almost nobody else would, has become one of the forgotten stories of the Iraq war, so I’m delighted that we’re finally going to be able to pay tribute to her courage.… Her story has been all but forgotten in the years since the 2003 Iraq war ended, overshadowed by more recent, flashier tales’. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/18/keira-knightley-role-katharine-gun-gchq-official-secrets-film You can read about one of the ‘official heroines’ of the Iraq Debacle, my erstwhile colleague from Gaza Emma Sky, with some skeptical comments on some of her flashier ‘triumphs’ at: https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/04/losing-iraq-emma-skys-book-unraveling.html https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/emma-sky-banality-and-evil-of-imposed.html https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/who-lost-iraq-well-it-certainly-wasnt.html https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2009/11/from-new-york-times-november-2009.html https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/girl-with-ming-lobotomy.html https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/somewhat-confident-us-general-ray.html No doubt Emma was physically brave and highly committed to better outcomes in her own fashion but we must reserve special respect for those who see the real issues with clarity and then dissent at great personal cost to protest illegal and unjust carnage.

    • Services along the Hutt Valley line will be delayed due to signal faults between Petone and Upper Hutt.
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Services along the Hutt Valley line will be significantly delayed due to signal faults between Petone and Upper Hutt this morning.This will effect both north and southbound services.  Please expect delays and some service cancellations.The 8.20am service from Taita to Wellington will be cancelled. The 8.00am service from Upper Hutt to Wellington will be stopping at all stops.  We are working on the situation and will keep you updated throughout the morning and hope to have this resolved as soon as possible.Your patience this morning is appreciated and apologise for the inconvenience this will cause.  Updates to follow. This affects these services: HVL

    • 4.30pm: HVL and WRL services running to regular timetable for this afternoon's peak. Expect some delays
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Regular Hutt Valley and Wairarapa Line train services  during this afternoon's peak, expect minor delays due to ongoing Signal faultTrains will be running to the regular scheduled timetable during this afternoon's peak, however please expect some minor delays due to the ongoing signal fault between Ava and Woburn, especially around Petone.BackgroundHutt Valley and Wairarapa Line train services experienced significant delays this morning due to a major signal fault between Ava and Trentham. While some of the issues have been repaired, maintenance crews are still working on the fault between Ava and Woburn, which could lead to ongoing minor delays to train services.Minor delays are expected to continue and may impact morning services on Tuesday 20 February, until the signal fault has been fully repaired.Signal FaultA signal relays information to the train driver on the state of the line ahead. These are red, yellow and green lights which provide direction on speed or tell the driver to stop. If a signal stops working the train staff follow procedures to safely pass. The driver may have to contact the control centre and get the okay to proceed. The train is also likely to travel slower through the area controlled by the signal as an additional safety measure. If a driver passes a stop signal it is a serious safety breach. The service is halted while the driver is replaced and an investigation is conducted. For more information on signal faults and the impact it has on services, please see 'What Delays Trains'. We appreciate your patience during this time.  This affects these services: HVL WRL

    • HVL and WRL services are experiencing significant delays due to earlier signals fault
      • 18 Feb 2018
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Services on the HVL and WRL are experiencing major delaysServices had been running to the regular scheduled timetable during this afternoon's peak, however due to the signal fault between Ava and Woburn this has caused minor delays to significantly increase over the past hour.Services Experiencing Major DelaysWairarapa The 4:25pm service from Wellington to Masterton departed Wellington 43 minutes late The 5:30pm service from Wellington to Masterton departed Wellington 30 minutes late Hutt ValleyAll services on the Hutt Valley and Melling Lines are experiencing delays of up to 20 minutes.BackgroundHutt Valley and Wairarapa Line train services experienced significant delays this morning due to a major signal fault between Ava and Trentham. While some of the issues have been repaired, maintenance crews are still working on the fault between Ava and Woburn, which could lead to ongoing minor delays to train services.Minor delays are expected to continue and may impact morning services on Tuesday 20 February, until the signal fault has been fully repaired.Signal FaultA signal relays information to the train driver on the state of the line ahead. These are red, yellow and green lights which provide direction on speed or tell the driver to stop. If a signal stops working the train staff follow procedures to safely pass. The driver may have to contact the control centre and get the okay to proceed. The train is also likely to travel slower through the area controlled by the signal as an additional safety measure. If a driver passes a stop signal it is a serious safety breach. The service is halted while the driver is replaced and an investigation is conducted. For more information on signal faults and the impact it has on services, please see 'What Delays Trains'. We appreciate your patience during this time.  This affects these services: HVL WRL

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    • http://mcshwellington.org/2018/02/the-wellington-central-pastoral-area-newsletter-25-february-2018/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • The Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 25 February 2018
    • http://jackyan.com/blog/2018/02/kylie-jenner-tweets-snapchats-value-down-us1300-million/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • Kylie Jenner Tweets, Snapchat’s value down US$1,300 million
    • http://mcshwellington.org/2018/02/cardinal-johns-newsletter-22-february-2018/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • Cardinal John’s Newsletter 22 February 2018
    • http://mcshwellington.org/2018/02/sacred-heart-cathedral-school-newsletter-term-1-week-4-2018/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • Sacred Heart Cathedral School Newsletter – Term 1 Week 4 2018
    • http://jackyan.com/blog/2018/02/from-one-school-shooting-survivor-to-others/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • From one school shooting survivor to others
    • http://femdom-album.bdsmsex.top/rss.xml
    • Found in 1 places.
      • Updated contrive sheet
    • http://tits-photos.pornpost.in/rss.xml
    • Found in 1 places.
      • Unshackle galleries
    • http://wellingtonista.com/2018/02/22/its-festivals-time/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • It’s Festivals time!
    • http://asian.bondage.sexblog.pw/rss.xml
    • Found in 1 places.
      • Grown up placement
    • http://jackyan.com/blog/2018/02/tppa-11-same-thing-different-face/feed/
    • Found in 1 places.
      • TPPA-11: same thing, different face


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