18 April, 2011

Off to blog somewhere else...

My sporadic blogging here is about to become more frequent blogging somewhere else. I'm off to blog at Missing Sparkles. There's more than just me, there's a group of us, all wonderfully blogging about queer issues and things, as well as periodically lapsing into pop culture and entertainment.

I may still blog here sporadically when I need to rant...

24 February, 2011

A Recent Conversation

I was chatting with a friend of mine today, when the topic of The Rock FM's "Win A Wife Trip To Beautiful Ukraine For 12 Nights And Meet Eastern European Hot Lady Who Maybe One Day You Marry" competition came up. We laughed at the stupid dick "Mclovin" who was named as the 1st finalist, and at what the number one thing he looks for in a lady: "Washing Iron F^&*(ing Etc)”

After having a bit of a chuckle at his expense, my friend (40s, woman, divorcée) and I had the following conversation:

Her: "I don't know what qualaties I'd look for in a man. I honestly can't say."

Me: "How about someone who is proud to see you as an equal."


07 February, 2011

New Zealand Day

Waitangi Day has once again rolled past in New Zealand, and once again there were protests and controversy and what not...

All these things have once again renewed Peter Dunn's call to rename it "New Zealand Day" - this time creating a separate day, instead of just renaming it.

Of course, that'll work! Instead of addressing the underlying racial tensions, and trying to make a move towards an understanding of our history and creating a country in which our native population are able to participate on an equal footing, let's just sweep that all under the carpet by renaming the day, taking the Maoriness out of it.

You don't fix the fundamental racial issues facing a nation by giving the national day a European name so whitey can pretend that everything's alright. Fixing things is difficult, it takes time and it forces us to look in the mirror and admit to ourselves that, maybe, we could try being a little less racist.

02 February, 2011

Gotta love me some privilege

"I'm all for [minority] rights, but [minority issue] is hardly pressing, so I don't see why [small group of people] need to worry about it right now."

In a fantastic case of not-getting-it, I read a stream of comments to that effect on a Facebook page organising a protest to draw attention to the non-binary nature of gender, by ticking both boxes on the next New Zealand census.

Apparently, we should only care about issues that are immediately pressing. If we took that attitude, then minority issues would never be brought up. We would still find homosexuality illegal and women would still predominantly be found in the kitchen.

It's a similar thing as what was said to me by a local politician in the Open Labout project. Open Labour was about allowing the people to suggest policies that the Labour Party should push, with the intention of allowing citizens an active part in the process of government policy making. This is something I agree with; democracy should be open to all people and not just in picking who gets to make the decisions once every three years.

I suggested that Labour adopt a policy to allow same sex marriage. Yes, we have civil unions, but equivalence is not equality and don't very much like being treated like a second class citizen, and all that. My suggestion got a lot of attention, and most of the responses were positive. But then, Clare Curran commented, "that's not really the point in [Open Labour]." What? Then what is the point? What's the point in asking for the people to suggest policy that's important to them, if you dismiss suggestions that aren't important to you?

Privilege is an annoying thing for those who don't have it, and those that do have it seem hell bent on denying it. So what if the issue isn't pressing (on the majority of people)? That's not the point, and it's certainly not relevent.  The point is that we have an imperitive on being consistent on human rights and doing all that we can to ensure that all people have the ability to participate freely in our society without having to worry about artificial blockades we put up, whether it's by prohibiting them from marrying whom they love, or not including options that describe them on the census.

It's not relevant because we deal with non-pressing issues every day, and we are more than capable of dealing with many issues simultaneously.

31 January, 2011

"Proving he's a typical [chauvinist pig]"

Four different people managed to piss me off in one single news article.

John Key appeared on the radio programme of convicted woman beater, Tony Veitch. Now, I believe in second chances, and think criminals should be given a fresh start after they've finished their sentence. But here is a man who was convicted of breaking his girlfriend's back, sitting down with the Prime Minister, objectifying women by discussing the top three Key thinks are hot (his wife being notably absent).

I expect more of the leader of our country than pining after Tiger Wood's life of money and affairs.

Expectedly, a number of women, Sue Kedgley included, were a little peeved at this. But fear not, fellow penis wielders! Dean Lonergan is here to put them in their place:
"John Key is a strong leader and a very good family man."
"Those women who might be upset at his comments are obviously just disappointed they never made John Key's list and never will."
"He's a normal man who expresses normal manly sentiments from time to time."
Normal manly sentiments like ranking women on their hotness, because they're only here for us red-blooded men to look at? These kind of statements are so infuriating. If that's what it takes to be a "very good family man," then I'm glad I'm not one. I'm sure fact that she didn't make the list is the core of Kedgley's complaints.

But the fourth person to piss me off in this article, was the journalist, Neil Reid. He caused me the most consternation with the simple phrase "Proving he's a typical Kiwi bloke..."

This was an article about the controversy surrounding chauvinistic statements by this country's leader and Reid opens by normalising his comments, passing them off as "typical." The journalist, who is supposed to take an unbiased position, by opening with a suggestion that the PM's comments are typical of New Zealand men, is directly implying that the ensuing complaints are unwarrented.

No wonder Anna Faris wasn't happy with her visit to New Zealand.

26 January, 2011

Let's get some privatisation up in this place!

So, John Key has announced that he's going to sell off some state assets, namely our energy companies, to cover some of this debt we seem to enjoy so much. There's a couple of things I don't like about this, and they cover both practical and ideological fronts.

Key, in his State of the Nation speech, said that National would sell off 49% of the state-owned energy companies to pay for rising national debt, retaining controlling interest for the government.

On the practical side, I understand that energy companies earned the government around $700 million last year. This goes into the state coffers where it's used to help pay for things like healthcare and education. If the government sells off half of the shares in the companies, that would slash the revenue that the government can take. That will mean we'd have to find more money from other sources to pay for important things that we're already not providing enough funding for.

Selling the assets would mean a one off cash boost to the government, but after a few years, the reduced income would negate that.

We were in debt a couple of years ago, and John Key cut tax for the rich, claiming it would help boost the economy, apparently still believing that the trickle down theory actually has merit. That, or he was lying through his insidious smile. Either way, fit for leadership that does not one make.

Yoda-esque sentences aside, the cuts were supposed to be balanced out by the increase in GST. It's incredibly naïve to think that a tax on consumption would work in a time when consumption is low.

So we ended up in more debt, of Key and Bill English's construction, which they claim will be solved with a quick state-asset sale.

On the ideological side of my argument, energy companies are part of our core infrastructure. They belong to all of us. Key said that "mum and dad" investors (I abhor that term on so many levels) would be better off if they could buy shares in the companies. When CLive pointed out that "mum and dad" already own shares with them being state owned (as do the rest of us non "mum and dad"s), Key merrily said, "Yes, and now thay can buy their own shares in it! ^_^" *

"Mum and dad" investors are not going to be better off - wealthy, private interests are. Foreign investors are going to go for their slice of the pie too (even though they have to stand at the back of the queue, NZ investors would be given first dibs).

Electricity companies are fundamentally important to the running of our nation. Power generation should belong to all the people and not be subjected to the whims of private owners. Just because the government holds controlling interest, giving them the power of veto in certain decisions, it doesn't mean that the other 49% don't have any sway. They have a lot of sway.

I shouldn't keep saying that these companies are owned by the government, that makes people miss the point. These companies are owned by us - the citizens of New Zealand. We should be the ones who control them. A small group of politicians should keep their grubby paws off them.

* I'm paraphrasing a little.