Cook was an explorer, not a coloniser

Mark Stocker writes:

This article will not engage in the vexed question of Cook’s impact on New Zealand history, other than to say that his voyages – and tragic death – preceded any significant European settlement by decades. Therefore, holding him to any personal, adverse responsibility here is both silly and misplaced. The same goes for a North Island tribal chief executive’s characterisation of Cook as ‘a barbarian’ when the whole ethos behind Cook’s voyages was specifically not imperial conquest but that noble Enlightenment goal (trashed by postcolonial academics in recent years), ‘dare to know’. All this and more has been said in the columns of History Reclaimed, when Robert Tombs explained why ‘Scapegoating Cook is a facile response to problems that we are far from having solved. We can’t hide 21st century failings by blaming Cook’.

Cook was an explorer. He never left crew members behind.

It is the vandals, not Captain Cook, who are blind. Their defacement of his statue is an emotionally immature and ill-educated act of copycat vandalism, probably influenced by the recent uprooting of his Melbourne statue. Smashing Cook’s face helps no one’s understanding of history and does nothing to allay the suffering of indigenous peoples as a consequence of the arrival of Europeans. His complex and controversial legacy in Aotearoa [New Zealand] is best addressed by having an explanatory caption beside the statue, complemented by smartphone accessible QR codes, providing a range of interpretations. Indigenous responses would be central to this.

That is an excellent idea.

Ipsos on gender equality

Some interesting findings from Ipsos, including:

  • Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to think that a man who stays at home to look after his children is less of a man
  • Around half of people across 31 countries think that men are being asked to do too much to support gender equality (51%).
  • Almost half of people (46%) think that we have gone so far in promoting women’s equality that we are discriminating against men.
  • Just 15% of NZers prefer a male leader, 20% prefer a female leader, with the majority not having a preference either way.

No surprise

Radio NZ reported:

Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick will be the Green Party’s new co-leader alongside Marama Davidson, as James Shaw steps down.

Last month, Shaw said he would be stepping down from his duties as co-leader in March.

Dunedin-based activist and conservationist Alex Foulkes had put his hand up too for the role but announced on Sunday that he had conceded defeat. Swarbrick received 169 votes from party delegates, Foulkes received no votes.

This is now old news, and of course absolutely no surprise.

Chloe has a devoted following, especially with younger voters. I would not go so far as to say she will achieve her goal of supplanting Labour as the major party of the left, but I do think she has real potential to grow their vote and especially get more younger people to actually enrol and vote.

This would be a great government initiative

Niki Bezzant writes:

As International Women’s Day rolls around again, women can sit back, relax and reflect on all the amazing progress that’s been made in the past year.

Kidding!

Last year I wrote a piece on why we still need International Women’s Day. Sadly, these reasons all still apply. We’re still behind (or going backwards) in the gender pay gap; representation in the nation’s boardrooms; the orgasm gap and access to equitable healthcare.

This should be part of the Government’s second 100 day plan – to close the orgasm gap.

I’m not sure who would be the lead agency – Ministry of Health, Ministry for Women or the Social Wellbeing Agency. You could even have a cross-sector approach and include the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Innovation etc. Maybe even the new Ministry of Regulation could examine this area.

This would be a good use of AI

Radio NZ report:

The government’s top digital officials say they are not aware of any trials of artificial intelligence for summarising parliamentary submissions.

The ABC recently reported that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had used AI to read and summarise public submissions into parliamentary inquiries, such as the use of consultants in government.

In response to reporter questions, ASIC said it had trialled AI because it was becoming too onerous to read all the submissions.

The commission called it an “ideal and low risk” way to test generative AI technology, the ABC reported.

Actually this would be a very good use of AI.

When summarising submissions, you really want to report the following:

  • The arguments for and against each section
  • Proposed changes
  • Which submitters were for and against each possible change
  • Overall sentiment

This is stuff that could be done very efficiently by AI, especially as there may be thousands of submissions which will have common themes.

You’d still want a human to check over the output, but it is a lot quicker to review a summary, than write it from scratch.

I’d be all for select committees and government agencies trialling AI to summarise submissions.

The fascists win again

The Herald reports:

A leading United States official in the Aukus programme had to abandon her speech in Wellington today after it was disrupted by pro-Palestinian and anti-Aukus protestors planted among the audience (see the speech below).

The right to protest does not extend to being a right to prevent people from hearing from someone they wish to.

When you prevent people from hearing a speaker they wish to hear from, you are forcing your views on them and harming their human rights. It is basically a form of speech fascism.

Deducting costs is not a tax break

The Herald reports:

Labour’s finance spokeswoman Barbara Edmonds has remained highly critical of the Government’s new tax relief policy which she said would make landlords “tax cut millionaires”.

Under the existing law, introduced by the former Labour Government when the property market was overheating, no interest can be deducted for property bought from March 27, 2021.

This is nit a tax break or tax relief in the normal sense of the word. Every business in New Zealand is allowed to deduct the costs of the business from the income of the business to work out taxable income.

Labour changed the law so that people who rent property would not be allowed to deduct interest expense, unlike every other business. It was totally unprincipled.

All National had done is put all businesses back on the same rule which is we tax on net income, not gross income.

This is not like say the film subsidy which is a tax break specifically for films. That is a form of corporate welfare.

Calling this a tax break for landlords is like saying that allowing doctors to deduct the cost of their work computers from their income is a tax break.

$800k for Jacinda hagiography documentary

Stuff reports:

The New Zealand Film Commission is putting $800,000 towards a documentary about former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern.

In a statement the Film Commission said the documentary explores the rise of violent extremism and online hate in New Zealand, while covering Dame Jacinda’s leadership.

The commission said the documentary was not authorised nor endorsed by Dame Jacinda, and she has no editorial involvement.

“It is important to note this is not a biopic. Rather, the documentary explores the rise of violent extremism and online hate in New Zealand, following Jacinda Ardern’s leadership trajectory as an example of how these forces played out through one of the most tumultuous periods in modern times.

Oh puke. This is going to be a documentary about how the world’s most beloved leader was brought down by the forces of hate. I could almost write the script for it now.

There actually could be an interesting documentary on Ardern. It would be exploring how she went from an unprecedented +80% net favourability rating to a negative net favourability rating in just two years. It would look at her strengths but also her weaknesses. It would focus on failure to deliver, cost of living crisis as well as the response to Covid. It would interview supporters and critics. It would be balanced.

But I am confident to say that will not be this documentary.

The Government should change the rules so that no government funding body can fund a production about a current or recently retired NZ politician.

Labour’s fake landlord data

The Herald reports:

The Government has hit out at Labour for using misleading figures when claiming its policy of reinstating interest deductions for landlords would create a class of landlord millionaires, a claim it has repeated on and off since the election campaign.

In a press release from the weekend, Labour’s Finance spokeswoman Barbara Edmonds said the policy, which allows landlords to reduce their tax bill by deducting interest costs would “give approximately 346 landlords who own at least 200 properties each around $464 million between them”. …

The calculation uses bond lodgement data to work out how many individual properties the person lodging the bond is responsible for. Data for bond lodgement registers the number of bonds each individual entity has lodged, broken down into tiers of 1, 2-3, 4-10, 11-20, 21-50, 51-200, and more than 200.

The Ministry notes this data is not a reflection of the number of properties someone owns. Rather, it is a reflection of the number of properties someone is responsible for lodging bonds for. And the big dog when it comes to lodging the most bonds are not landlords who own hundreds of properties, but property management companies, who manage hundreds of properties on behalf of other people.

It is obvious to anyone not a moron that companies that lodge bonds are not necessarily the owners. Surely the Labour Party has heard of property management companies.

They must have known this was a false claim. Common sense alone would tell us there is no way there are 350 people who own 200+ homes each.

The actual number it seems is one!

The law should be predictable

The Herald reports:

The growth of Treaty of Waitangi clauses in legislation caused so much worry that a special oversight group was set up by the last Government in a bid to get greater coherence in the public service on Treaty matters.

When ministers first considered the need for tighter oversight in 2021, there were at least 50 known Treaty clauses in legislation with about 14 variations in their description of the Crown’s obligations as a Treaty partner.

Chaos.

But what will be left of any new Treaty clauses to monitor is an open question because of a radical direction the coalition Government is taking already, ahead of the review.

It is no longer putting general Treaty clauses in legislation.

That became evident last week when the Fast-Track Approvals Bill was unveiled, which sets out a process for ministers to approve significant infrastructure projects. It did not have a general clause.

But leaving out a general Treaty clause is not a one-off, says New Zealand First’s Regional Development Minister Shane Jones, who helped Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop to produce the bill. There will be no more general Treaty clauses in any new legislation, Jones said.

“If you look at the sentiment in the coalition agreement, it should come as no surprise to anyone that there is not and will not be any more generic open-ended Treaty clauses.”

Excellent. These clauses mean that no one knows what the law actually means, as they are so vague.

If we think there should be legislative respect for the Treaty of Waitangi, or its principles, then they should be clearly defined by the legislature.

Green MP suspended over alleged migrant exploitation

Stuff reports:

The Green Party has suspended one of its MPs, Darleen Tana, and appointed an independent lawyer to investigate her conduct after a Stuff investigation into allegations of migrant exploitation at a business owned by her husband.

The Greens suspended Tana on Thursday afternoon after Stuff put a series of questions to her about the allegations that the company, E-Bikes NZ, employed a worker who was in New Zealand on a visitor visa, and paid him in cash until he secured a work visa. …

Palma says he asked Tana to intercede and help him secure his lost wages and she refused. He supplied message chains showing Tana asking him to assist with her political campaign.

So the alleged exploited migrant asked Tana for his unpaid wages and she asked him to help her campaign!

A statement was supplied from Green leaders Marama Davidson and Chloe Swarbrick which said Tana had told the party on February 1 and then again on February 9 of complaints laid to the Employment Relations Authority, both of which included allegations against her personally.

But they said it was not until yesterday that they learned that “Ms Tana may have had some prior knowledge of the allegations”.

Did they not ask questions?

Davidson told RNZ on Friday morning that she stood by the the fact the MP was stood down from the small business portfolio, without sharing that information with the public.

Another secret suspension – first Ghahraman, and now Tana.

The key to note is her maiden speech was after the Greens knew about the migrant exploitation allegations.

Guest Post: The problem with the vice-chancellor’s ‘free speech’ column

A guest post by Dr James Kierstead and Dr Michael Johnston:

In a column that appeared in The Post on 23 February, Victoria University of Wellington Vice-Chancellor Nic Smith criticizes the coalition’s commitment to have universities adopt a free speech policy.  

Smith notes that ACT Party leader David Seymour ‘has previously criticised universities for declining to host certain speakers and argued the institutions should lose funding if they don’t “protect free speech.”’ The vice-chancellor then states that ‘one inference of all this is that anyone who wants to speak on campus should be able to do so.’  

But it wouldn’t actually be valid to infer from Seymour’s criticisms of recent deplatformings at New Zealand universities that he thinks that ‘anyone who wants to speak on campus should be able to do so.’  

You can, of course, think that Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas was wrong to prevent Don Brash from speaking to a student politics club in August 2018 (for example) and at the same time recognize that random people can’t simply turn up at a university without an invitation and expect to get a hearing. 

Smith has set up a classic straw man. Unfortunately for him, it’s a straw man that he addresses the rest of his column to. ‘While it may seem antithetical to some,’ he declares, ‘I do not agree that universities platforming all-comers will help.’ But it’s not clear who exactly has been proposing this. 

The vice-chancellor goes on, though, warning that ‘an all-comers approach will actually reduce our capacity to expose relevant truths and understand the world in new ways,’ and that ‘everybody having a platform will diminish our capacity for people to talk respectfully together about difficult topics and discuss conflicting ideas.’ 

It might well be the case that allowing absolutely anyone to speak on campus would make debating ideas on campus more difficult – even if the vice-chancellor doesn’t advance any actual arguments for that proposition.  

But again, I haven’t heard anyone insisting on an ‘all-comers approach’ to academic freedom in this country over the past few years. 

What I am aware of is anger over episodes such as the de-platforming of Brash, the cancellation of the Feminism 2020 event (also at Massey), and the deplatforming of gender-critical feminist Daphna Whitmore at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in 2022.   

Smith doesn’t mention any of these cases though. Perhaps that’s because they make clear that the problem we have isn’t with ‘all-comers’ making debate on campus impossible. It’s with people with widely held views being prevented from debating certain issues.  

It is true, of course, that certain types of speech aren’t usually covered even by the strongest free speech laws. In US First Amendment law, for example, drowning out a speaker with heckling is usually considered a violation of the speaker’s rights. 

So have the likes of Brash and gender-critical feminists been drowning out speakers at our universities with heckling?  If so, Smith might have some evidence for his fears about on-campus debate being limited by invited speakers.  

In fact, of course, it is the likes of Brash who tend to be heckled. When the former National Party leader was eventually allowed to speak at the University of Auckland in September 2018, NewsHub reported that the event ‘was marred by ugly scenes…with protesters immediately heckling him over a megaphone as he attempted to take part in the debate.’ 

When British gender-critical women’s activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull tried to speak in Auckland last year, she was surrounded by a crowd that jeered and shoved her, had tomato juice poured on her head, and eventually had to escape from the area with a police escort. That event wasn’t on a university campus, but it’s hard to imagine things would have gone differently if it had been. 

And when seven Auckland academics sent a letter to The Listener magazine in 2021 politely expressing doubts about inserting mātauranga Māori in the science curriculum, two faced an investigation by the Royal Society, one was forced to resign from his administrative position, and another was temporarily removed from teaching. 

It should come as no surprise that when Heterodox New Zealand (a group of dissident academics) and the Free Speech Union have conducted surveys of undergraduates and academics over the past couple of years, they found that substantial numbers of responding academics didn’t feel comfortable discussing hot-button topics like the Treaty of Waitangi and gender.   

Why doesn’t Smith address any of this? It probably isn’t because Smith (who made his academic reputation making computer models of the heart) simply doesn’t understand the issues. A more likely reason is that the vice-chancellor, like a lot of people at universities these days, feels intimidated. 

You might think that the vice-chancellor, who was paid $368,750 by the taxpayer-funded institution last year, should simply bite the bullet and risk offending a small number of bolshie students and staff. The Education Act does, after all, require universities to uphold academic freedom, and Smith is effectively Vic’s CEO. That even Smith doesn’t dare address the real problem speaks volumes about the situation that our universities now find themselves in. 

It also speaks to the need for the kind of legislation that the coalition aims to introduce – and, in fact, for more robust measures as well. 

Universities in English-speaking countries are becoming more like religious organizations than the secular, liberal engines of research and learning that we take them (and pay them) to be.  

Just as in medieval universities, plenty of good work gets done, and most university workers aren’t particularly zealous. But there are limits on what you can and can’t discuss, and over time this has significantly distorted the university’s core purpose. 

If this government stops at simply asking universities to commit to a free speech policy and leaves them to police themselves, managers like Smith will simply carry on posing as defenders of free speech while caving in to zealots at every turn. With few left on campus who are willing to oppose the zealots, why wouldn’t the mangers act in this way? 

What we need, in addition, is an academic freedom bill of the sort that has been successfully introduced in the UK. This enables staff and students whose rights have been breached to seek legal redress. It also sets up a ‘free speech czar’ (currently Dr. Arif Ahmed) who can make sure that universities are doing the job that they are paid to do – providing a genuinely open space for learning and investigation. 

Dr James Kierstead is a Research Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative (www.nzinitiative.org.nz). 

Dr Michael Johnston is a Senior Fellow. Both authors are former Victoria University of Wellington academics. 

The Police have compulsory arbitration for pay disputes

Chris Hipkins is trying to make an issue of the fact that the offer from the Police Commissioner has not been accepted by the Police Association.

Hipkins will know full well that there is a compulsory arbitration procedure for Police pay claims, and that if the Government is making an inadequate offer, it will only result in the Police Association offer being accepted.

The arbitration process is very unusual. It doesn’t involve compromise. The arbitrator either selects the Commissioner’s offer or the Policer Association’s offer.

What this means is that there is an incentive for both sides to be realistic.

Let’s say inflation is at 6%. If the Government offers 1% and the Association wants 8%, then the Association will win. If the Government offers 5% and the Association wants 12%, the Commissioner will win.

This is different to most other arbitrations where it is a compromise. There you may get bad faith offers of say 1% and 12%, as they will be hoping this will mean any compromise is as low or high as possible.

So if the Government’s offer really is so inadequate, then that is great for the Police Association. It greatly increases their chances of having their claim accepted.

The arbitration factors include “the recruitment and retention of suitably qualified Police employees” and doesn’t include affordability or ability to pay, so I’d say it is likely the Police Association will prevail.

More corporate welfare for Ruapehu

The Herald reports:

The operator of the Whakapapa skifield has received another Government bailout, but Regional Development Minister Shane Jones insists it is the last one.

Cabinet has agreed to provide $7 million of financial support to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts(RAL), Jones announced today.

It also pledged to provide $3.05m in equity and loan funding to enable the sale of the Tūroa skifield assets to Pure Tūroa Ltd (PTL), a company owned by property developer Cam Robertson and businessman Greg Hickman.

For the last 17 months the insolvent, not-for-profit operator RAL has been kept afloat with $20m of taxpayer money.

I hope it is the last one, but I am not optimistic.

At the very most, the Government should have provided some one off assistance for say three months while buyers were found. $20 million of corporate welfare over 17 months is obscene, and I say that as someone who has skied at Mt Ruapehu since I was around five years old.

Ghahraman pleads guilty

1 News reports:

The former Green Party MP was charged with four counts of shoplifting related to three incidents in Auckland and one in Wellington. 

Two incidents relate to Ponsonby retailer Scotties Boutique on December 21 and 23, 2023.

One relates to Wellington retailer Cre8iveworkx after an incident on October 22, 2023, while the fourth charge, laid late last month, allegedly place at Standard Issue in Auckland’s Newmarket on December 22.

The total of the items taken was revised to $8917.

Ghahraman entered the guilty pleas at the Auckland District Court today.

This means it is just sentencing in June. The maximum sentence is three months jail for theft up to $500, one year jail for up to $1,000 and seven years jail for over $1,000.

1st time offenders often get a pre-charge warning and second time offenders diversion. This is more complicated as it is the first time Ghahraman has been charged, but it covers four different thefts, with a fairly high total value.

A fine or community service is most likely I would say, or even a suspended sentence.

Only 14% of those charged with theft escape conviction but have the charges proved, and even smaller 4% get discharged without conviction. So Ghahraman would be very privileged to get that.

I note in the Herald article, that someone who was acting as private security for Ghahraman was shining his torch at photographers to try and spoil any photos they took. This, in my view, is not a good look in terms of contrition.

Five thoughts from the UK on civil service impartiality

An interesting blog post by a former UK civil servant and special advisor:

I’d also note that the vast majority of civil servants I worked with, both as a civil servant and as a SpAd, were committed to impartiality. …

Concerns are rising about civil service impartiality – just look at the regular headlines in the Telegraph or the Daily Mail or, for some more thoughtful articles, see here here, or here, which set out some good reasons for this. When one side starts losing faith – rightly or wrongly – with an institution that is meant to be impartial, that causes real problems for that institution’s ability to continue to exist in that form. Like Caesar’s Wife, an impartial institution must be above approach. Those who care most about civil service impartiality should be in the forefront of addressing and rectifying these concerns.

He lists five areas of concern:

  1. Poor performance. he suggests that “there should be a formal means whereby Ministers could raise performance concerns about officials with their Permanent Secretary, and request that the person be reassigned. Such a power would be used rarely – similar to when a Permanent Secretary requests a formal written direction – but, when used, would normally be considered and resolved swiftly.”
  2. Recognising certain issues are politically contentious. “There is an urgent need to address the insistence by the civil service that certain matters – e.g. on gender and race – are somehow ‘non-political’. Regardless of your views on these issues, it is undeniably the case that questions around sex, gender, self-ID and women’s sports; or on race, privilege, statues, heritage and curriculum are highly politically contentious, regularly splashed on the front pages of newspapers, covered by the broadcast news and hotly debated in Parliament. Yet in the civil service, very one-sided positions on these are fully embedded within training courses, HR policies, within ‘staff support groups’ or in statements made by senior leaders. Sometimes these directly contradict the policies or positions that have been set out by Ministers.”
  3. The embedding of campaigning, activist groups in the public sector. This typically takes place through membership of diversity schemes, such as the Stonewall Diversity Scheme. This is a fundamental problem when civil servants must advise impartially on sensitive matters – such as transgender prisoners or self-ID in schools – where there are contested views in society. It is not enough to say that these schemes are only about internal HR policies. If staff have been taught, through training, lunchtime talks and so on, a one-sided view of an issue, and if their HR policies reflect that view, and suggest that anyone challenging may be subject to disciplinary action, how can they possibly submit impartial advice that considers the issues in a fair and balanced way?
  4. Group-Think The IFG report is right to say that group think is (mostly) a bigger concern than explicit bias. But with education polarisation increasingly the biggest divide in UK politics, this poses real challenges for an organisation that by necessity draws heavily from the highly educated. Essentially, in some areas most civil servants will have views which do not represent the nation as a whole, but only a particular slice of it.
  5. The use of accusations to bring down those with opposing political views.

They’re all valid issues, both in the UK and also I would say in NZ.

Five good health targets

Shane Reti announced five health targets:

  • Faster cancer treatment – 90 per cent of patients to receive cancer management within 31 days of the decision to treat.   
  • Improved immunisation for kids  95 per cent of children to be fully immunised at 24 months of age. 
  • Shorter stays in emergency departments – 95 per cent of patients to be admitted, discharged or transferred from an ED within six hours.  
  • Shorter wait times for first specialist assessment – 95 per cent of patients to wait less than four months for an FSA.    
  • Shorter wait times for treatment – 95 per cent of patients to wait less than four months for elective treatment.

These will be challenging to achieve. Almost every health indicator got far worse under Labour after they abandoned meaningful health targets. But we shouldn’t accept the status quo. Governments should be judged on actual outcomes, not on how much money they spend.

I will blog regular updates on the quarterly data released measuring actual performance against the targets.

“Sexuality” education in NZ.

Despite promises from the new government to quickly review/replace these bizarre documents it appears that this remains the current official document in NZ that school Boards of Trustees must implement.

 “Relationship and Sexuality” education in Years 1 – 8 

This features statements such as:

In English, ākonga can:

• critically explore how the diversity of families, schools, and communities is represented in texts

• explore and critique the representation of gender roles and relationships in texts

• co-construct ground rules for engaging in critical discussions about text content

• create oral, visual, or written texts about the roles and relationships within their whānau or family

• engage in dialogue and debate in the context of provocative online posts linked to relationships, gender, and sexuality

In science, ākonga can:

• consider how biological sex has been constructed and measured over time and what this means in relation to people who have variations in sex characteristics

• consider variations in puberty, including the role of hormone blockers

This is for children between 5 and 12 years old (Year 1 – 8). There is no way they are going to be allowed to be kids. They get the worries of the adult world thrust down upon them and, for the record, I have always felt the sex and sexuality education belongs in the home.

What happens in NZ is that when a topic like this comes up a range of self-interest idealogues put their hands up and the Ministry calls them “experts” and gives them carte blanche. Families/parents and/or representatives of those pillars of society are most certainly not welcome to express their views.

The most insidious part of these documents was to spread the content through every learning area so that the ability for parents to withdraw their children was significantly negated.

Here is just one example of how the NZ documents are a disaster:

“Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones

Puberty blockers (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues) are not available to children and young people for gender incongruence or gender dysphoria because there is not enough evidence of safety and clinical effectiveness.

From the age of 16, teenagers who’ve been on hormone blockers for at least 12 months may be given cross-sex hormones, also known as gender-affirming hormones.

These hormones cause some irreversible changes, such as:

  • breast development (caused by taking oestrogen)
  • breaking or deepening of the voice (caused by taking testosterone)

Long-term cross-sex hormone treatment may cause temporary or even permanent infertility.

However, as cross-sex hormones affect people differently, they should not be considered a reliable form of contraception.

There is some uncertainty about the risks of long-term cross-sex hormone treatment.

Children, young people and their families are strongly discouraged from getting puberty blockers or gender affirming hormones from unregulated sources or online providers that are not regulated by UK regulatory bodies.” (www.nhs.uk/conditions/gender-dysphoria/treatment/)”

Parents must be the key agents of all things to do with sex/sexuality in NZ. The State/Ministry has no role to play. Time for parents to be in touch with the Minister on this.

Alwyn Poole
Innovative Education Consultants
www.innovativeeducation.co.nz
alwynpoole.substack.com
www.linkedin.com/in/alwyn-poole-16b02151/
www.wood2water.co.nz
www.russellinfo.co.nz

They tried to ban the V-J Day kiss photo

Amazing – they tried to ban one of the most iconic photos of history. They backed down after this tweet exposed what they did.

Now its Spirit Whales!

James Macpherson writes:

Work on Australia’s most expensive resources project has been halted because of the danger it poses to Spirit Whales.

Woodside Energy Group has been ordered to halt work on a $16b gas project off the coast of Western Australia that, if completed, will power 8.5 million homes for the next 30 years.

But the Federal Court ordered work to stop after hearing evidence the area was home to mythical whales.

The Spirit Whales, according to Indigenous fables, tell the fish of the sea what to eat, when to mate and where to migrate.

If the gas project was to go ahead, the Spirit Whales would be endangered. And if the Spirit Whales were killed, none of the creatures of the sea would know what do to.

How do the fish survive in countries without spirit whales?

And Judge Craig Colvin, whilst not confirming or denying that Spirit Whales existed, ruled that Woodside had a duty to consider “cultural harm” caused by their project.

Now what I think that means is that whilst absolutely no-one believes that Spirit Whales exist, it would be against the law to upset the wild fantasies of a woman who imagines she talks to whales. 

Because the woman is Indigenous.

And evidently Indigenous fantasies must be indulged, as a mark of respect.

So myths and fantasies must be considered in projects.