Saturday, June 18, 2005

Kiwi Carnival #1

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Kiwi Carnival. Many thanks to all those who submitted posts. There were disappointingly few submissions, however, so I added some extra nominations myself -- I hope the affected bloggers don't mind their posts making a surprise appearance here. To get right into it...

No Right Turn presents an open letter to Helen Clark, Phil Goff, and Marian Hobbs regarding the upcoming visit of President Pervez Musharraf, and pushing for them to raise the issue of human rights and torture with him.

A Kiwi Geek reacts to news of a possible link between milk and childhood obesity: "We worry too much!" (The most hilarious line has got to be when a quoted expert solemnly informs us that "milk drunk in moderation should not cause any problems.")

Not PC laments the injustice of a farm being forced to shut down: "What sort of person moves next door to a chicken farm and then complains about the smell?"

Spanblather looks at the links between the Labour party and the labour movement, suggesting that "Labour is far from being the union-controlled robot that bloggers on the right so often portray it as."

Just Left discusses the decline in public spending as a proportion of GDP which has occurred since 1999, arguing that Labour's record in fiscal policy is more conservative than that of many governments which call themselves centre-right. He also discusses the myth of high tax rates in New Zealand, specifically in comparison with those applying in Australia.

Frogblog discusses New Zealand's participation in the Kyoto Protocol, responding to the three major arguments offered by conservatives:
1. It’ll cost too much.
2. We’re a small country, so what we do will make no difference anyway.
3. Important countries - like Australia, the US, China, and India - aren’t part of Kyoto, so why the Hell should we be? Signing up, when they haven’t, puts us at a comparative disadvantage.

(For those who are interested, I explore the second style of argument in greater detail here, noting an interesting cross-partisan parallel with the issue of defence spending.)

Kea Blog also offers a post on Kyoto, challenging the conventional wisdom "that New Zealand is a clean, green utopia and that every New Zealander has an inherent understanding of all things environmental."

Others have recently challenged whether kiwis have an adequate understanding of "reasonable force". But Big News opposes moves to remove the "reasonable force" exception from our assault laws. He writes: "The bill actually turns what is reasonable into what is illegal. Meaning anyone who uses reasonable force on their child can be charged with assault." (Proponents of the change insist that the police will "turn a blind eye" and not charge parents merely for smacking. But surely an unenforced law is a bad law.) It seems to me that the real issue here is who ought to decide what counts as 'reasonable' force? The proposed change shifts discretionary powers from jurors to the police. Is that really a good idea?

Another bad legal proposal is rejected by David Farrar, who offers a post on the stupidity of raising the drinking age to 20. He illustrates the problem quite effectively by offering a mundane example of dining behaviour that the proposed changes would render illegal. This post doesn't delve too much in to the broader issues involved, however. For that, one might do better to check out Fighting Talk, who argues that raising the drinking age is "a quick fix that won't change shit."

Kiwi Pundit defends National's infamous 'Iwis/Kiwis' billboard:
As far as I can tell, there are three separate complaints. The first is that the billboard suggests that Maori are not New Zealanders, the second is that the claim about ownership is factually incorrect, and the third is about what the correct plurals are.
His responses are all worth reading.

Race-related issues are also raised over at NZ Pundit, where Gordon King defends Graham Kelly against accusations of racism for his recent comments. Gordon argues that Kelly has been misrepresented, and offers extended quotes to allow readers to view the remarks in their proper context and draw their own conclusions. It's an interesting issue. Most of the uproar has been about Kelly's somewhat flippant comment that tribal Maori fought and ate each other. But if that is indeed what happened, why is it inappropriate or "racist" to say so? (This case appears to fit my analysis of political correctness as "excessive sensitivity to offense".)

In one of the more substantial posts showcased here today, Metcalph reviews Dr. Cullen's recent speech "about Judges and how he thinks they should behave." It's an interesting post, and sufficiently clear for laymen to follow.

Finally, I would like to highlight my own recent post: The Wellbeing Manifesto, which discusses nine social policy issues I consider quite important, and serves to introduce new readers to some of my past posts on the relevant topics.

That's it for this week -- I hope you found the entries to be of interest. The next Kiwi Carnival will be held in a fortnight's time over at Spanblather. Hopefully next time around we will receive more submissions. It's a great opportunity for smaller blogs to show off their best work and get noticed. I'd like to finish by reinforcing a point made on the Kiwi Carnival homepage, that this 'carnival' is a collaborative project, and depends for its success upon the participation of those in the NZ blogging community. So if you like the carnival: promote it on your website, add it to your blogroll, be sure to send in a submission for next time, and consider volunteering as a host!


  1. stupid lazy bloggers who intend to particpate but dont get a round tuit

  2. I didn't get around to it either, using the excuse that there was no great post made by me in the meantime.

    Is the dominance of political posts for any particular reason?

  3. i was a bit mercenary about the post i picked to be honest - i don't think it was the best post i wrote all week but i did think it deserved a big more traffic, and hopefully comments *sneaky smiley*

    i think if we all wait until we write The Great Post we'll never submit anything ;-) or at least i won't.

  4. The majority of NZ blogs are political. Or based somehow in social commentary. Still don't understand why - but the few political pundits I've conversed with are all rabidly fanatical.

    Maybe it should be redubbed "Parliament", rather than Carnival?

  5. I think that it only seems that the majority of kiwi blogs are political. The political or social commentary ones are those that actually have a reason for banding together and cross linking. Those of us that just write for the hell of it, reviewing things and talking shite don't really have a reason to label them as "Kiwi" - so they are not noticed as being kiwi.


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