Saturday, February 27, 2010


When I read this my reaction was the same as the title of this post. If someone is insulted by you doing your own thing, clearly not offering any insult, then it really isn't worth knowing them. And really, I don't think the Japanese would be insulted to any degree that would influence how they percieve us or engage with us, any more than Western diplomats are insulted when African representatives conduct talks dressed in traditional dress, or when Muslim representatives request that no alcohol be served at a reception.

Good international relations are based on give and take between the two parties, underpinned by a sense of mutual respect. Clearly Len Brown is stuck on give mode, and he is not afraid to take from the ratepayers to do it.

I don't intend to talk much about the supercity elections, but if this is the caliber of the frontrunner, Auckland has much to be afraid of, as does the National party who will have to wear the blame for a rushed process - not to mention the thouroughly undemocratic transition set up by Rodney Hide. Supporters of this Government should ask themselves, exactly when did it become acceptable for a Government minister to set up a shadow council of good citizens to determine things for everyone else?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I note 'Not PC' has been criticising the so called "step-change" the National Government promised on tax.

I really can't see why: I think the metaphore perfectly conveys the actions the National Government are taking. While Wikitionary does define the phrase "step change" the image it conjured for me was of two things: rugby players making a side-step or sudden break, or a solider marching out of time with the rest of his company and making the small shuffle that gets you back in time.

Either way, you are still playing for the same team, wearing the same uniform and going for the same goal. Now consider that John Key's budget is a "step change" from Labours. Thats right, same team, same goal, just hoping to do it a little better.

In any event, English had better have a few grenades left on his belt if he is going to get any bang for his buck come budget day, with even National super-blogger David Farrar giving him just a B.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Should New Zealand ban the 'burqa' in public places?

The 'burqa' is a style of dress that covers the wearer head to toe, completely obscuring them from sight.

While this particular dress is unique to countries with large Muslim populations, many would claim that its origins are to be found in Arabian culture, as opposed to the tenets of the Islamic religion.

Several European nations have taken stands against the dress, which is controversial, given that women are often said to be coerced to wear it upon threat of violence. Jack Straw, a prominent Government Minister in the UK, declared he would only allow constituents into his electorate office if their face was uncovered. France banned all signs of religious affiliation, which included the burqa.

In western nations, covering the entire face has long been an unacceptable practice in the public sphere. One cannot walk into a bank with a motorcylce helmet on, for example. Not only is this offending the mores of society, it poses a danger - it is much easier to get away with robbing a bank if your face cannot be seen by security cameras.

So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that if you allow a certain section of society the special privilige to ignore this rule, that someone would try to exploit it. And in France, two bank robbers have done exactly that.

I don't believe the people acting through the state has the right to enforce a ban on what you wear in private situations. But the people do have a right to manage their safety in public spaces - one cannot walk down main street with a loaded gun for example. And the problem with the burqa is that it destroys the safety of public space - without the ability to identify the person under the burqa, it creates an opening that can be exploited.

New Zealand should take steps against just such an event, by banning the full concealment of the face in public areas (banks, Government offices etc) by any type of clothing.