Population growth – elephant in the room

High rise accommodation blocks in Hong Kong

Less than 100 years ago the street I live on in Auckland didn’t exist. The land was used for farming. It used to be Maori land. Now the street has more than 100 houses and a couple of hundred people living on it.

In another 100 years the population density is likely to be similar to the photo above. But the bottom of the street will be wetland as the sea moves back with sea level rise. And some of the houses will have to go. The wetland was filled in less than 60 years ago for farming. It’s still called Madills Farm and is now a public park.

The housing crisis in New Zealand is due to two things: not sharing the available housing sensibly and population growth. Our society is happy to talk about the first but not the second.

At the last Climate Change Conference, number 26 for god’s sake, not much really happened. But notably David Attenborough spoke, which you may remember. David is the Patron of Population Matters and they called at COP26 for population levels to be taken seriously.

It’s a difficult conversation to have and there are some who actually deny it’s a problem. The deniers say our population is aging and diminishing. What they fail to admit is that this is a short term blip in the growth of humans across the planet.

Many people don’t want to limit their family size for the sake of the planet and for the welfare of us all, but it’s a discussion we need to have.

Deaf culture sign names – hearing person’s experience

Image description: fingerspelling of K in NZSL

This post is about what I’ve learned as a hearing person in Deaf culture in Aotearoa New Zealand. Lots of other people have different experiences and different points of view about sign names (or name signs as the Americans say).

In Deaf culture you must wait for the community to give you a sign name. The community needs to know you pretty well before you are gifted a sign name. It’s something Deaf people take very seriously. In some cases the process can take months or even years. Deaf people will often wait a year or two to give a new baby a sign name. They want to get to know the baby first.

Often the sign name is a newly made up sign that isn’t a recognised word in the language. The community deliberates at length about you (you’re not part of that) and then on some special occasion announce to you your new sign name. The importance of it can be compared to a christening in the christian cult. Your sign name is a precious gift from the community. Part of Deaf culture is being able to explain to people the origin of your sign name and what it means. This is often an important part of Deaf people getting to know each other.

The sign name might relate to some aspect of your personality, appearance or the fingerspelling of your first name – or perhaps a witty or clever combination of these. With American Sign Language (ASL) now becoming more influential in the Deaf world, a single-handed ASL fingerspelled letter is increasingly incorporated into sign languages which have a different, two-handed fingerspelling system.

In my case I didn’t know about these cultural rules and gave myself a sign name when I started learning sign language by myself on the computer (a big mistake). Later on when some of my Deaf friends learned I had given myself a sign name they were horrified and didn’t accept my sign name.

What happened next is another story. Hee hee.

3 Waters and Auckland Council

[This is basically what I wrote to Richard Hill. I haven’t heard back.]

Auckland Council is resisting the NZ Government plan to take more control over stormwater, sewerage and drinking water. I am inclined to support the Government but am happy to change my mind if better arguments are presented. I used to be part of a catchment mangagement committee that handled water issues.

Watercare is still hugely below par as we all know and has a vastly overpaid top management. I have seen zero plan by Akl Council to rein them in or to rein in any of the other bloated CCO’s. The iron law of bureaucracies is that they will expand to fill any available space and they will pay top management more and more while those lower down get less and less.

Just a few points some of which you may know – huge amounts of stormwater are illegally piped into sewers all around Auckland by private homes and businesses. [Update Dec2021 – much of this may actually be legal which is appalling.] Instead of tackling the problem at source, Watercare, with the connivance of Council, builds enormous expensive stormwater holding tanks to mitigate run-off. The one at Madills Farm is an example. So yes, we are cleaning up beaches but doing it totally the wrong way. You may be “proud” of this but I am disgusted, sorry to say. The expense of fixing the problem should be on the private landowner who has piped stormwater into the sewers, not on the general public. So, once again, we see a transfer of cost from the private to the public realm.

Watercare has failed to implement simple measures to stop leaks. For example if water use doubles or triples from a household or business because of a leak (often from failed hot water cylinders whose overflows may also be illegally piped), instead of alerting the household, Watercare collects extra money from them and our dams run lower than they should.

Instead of comprehensive repairs, Watercare will repair a failed pipe 300 metres long again and again and again to fix tiny sections servicing individual houses. This is particularly so in clay areas where groundwater becomes an underground stream in storm events and leaves giant cavities under pipes.

Finally, I think Council has failed to understand that you cant have your cake and eat it too. I don’t see how you can “have your say” and have “oversight of assets” if you want to fix problems like I’ve outlined above. We run the danger of too many cooks. I’m inclined, rather, to want a say via the mechanisms we already have via OIA, courts and the ballot box.

Steven Donziger harassed by US Courts at behest of oil industry

[Image description: photo of Steven Donziger with some of his bookshelf behind him.]

Donziger is a lawyer who helped win the Ecuadorian court case for $US9.5b against Chevron for pollution and health effects caused by oil drilling.

To avoid paying, Chevron moved its assets out of the country.

2011 – Chevron sues Donziger under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), accusing him of bribing an Ecuadorean judge and other crimes.

2014 – Judge Lewis Kaplan rules against Donziger relying in large part on the testimony of Alberto Guerra, a former Ecuadorean judge whom Chevron had moved to the USA and paid a stipend. Guerra later recanted but in 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals declined to consider Guerra’s admissions and upheld Kaplan’s ruling.

Kaplan ordered Donziger to submit his computer, phones, and other electronic devices to Chevron to allow it to search for his assets. Donziger refused and appealed, saying it would violate attorney–client privilege. While Donziger’s appeal was pending, Kaplan charged him with six counts of criminal contempt of court.

Kaplan appointed a private law firm, Seward & Kissel, to prosecute Donziger after the Southern District Court of New York refused to do so. Seward & Kissel had represented Chevron directly as recently as 2018, but neither Kaplan nor Seward & Kissel disclosed that Chevron had been a client.

Rather than using the standard random assignment process for choosing a judge to preside over Donziger’s trial for criminal contempt, Kaplan personally chose Judge Loretta Preska.

2019 – Preska sentences Donziger to home detention which is ongoing. Preska ordered Donziger to post a bail bond of $800,000, which is a record for a misdemeanor case in the US.

2020 Preska ruled that Donziger’s case would not be heard by a jury and found him guilty on all six contempt charges.

NZ Greens are toxic

[Image description: Robert Smirke (1753-1845) – Scene from Bickerstaffe’s Play ‘The Hypocrite’]

The NZ Greens Parliamentary team contains some very very toxic people. By their actions they are helping to perpetuate the abuse of disabled people.

The long and the short of it is a person called Pearl who works in Golriz’s office fabricated a bizzare lie that I had called her a stupid bitch after I tried to get the Greens to focus on PLD Deaf kids. Tory Whanau, Chief of Staff for James Shaw and Marama Davidson admitted Pearl had lied.

But Tory refused to apologise and instead made the further ridiculous and unsupported allegation that I had caused staff great distress and that I had insulted her and abused her staff. In fact I had pointed out that Tory had erred in her handling of the issue and I have always been painfully and scrupulously polite to all staff.

Tory then decided to completely cut off my ability to talk to my Green MPs about the abuse being meted out to Deaf kids. Tory’s actions were backed up by the General Secretary Gwen Shaw.

Timeline below. —————

NB = my notebook reference (notebook 14)LM = Left message

Thu29Apr2021 NB14:34 Pearl not sure if Parl library can help on PLD 1/3 claim. will phone me next week

Thu6May2021 NB14:34 Pearl hasn’t phoned so I phone again. It’s clear she doesn’t know how research service works. Tries to fob me off

Thu27May bump into Niko Elsen at AKL Conversations, conveys his understanding of MPs use of parl library research service

Tue 1Jun2021 NB14:36 Pearl difficult again. Says library can’t help. Doesn’t know who told her that. Undertakes to clarify. Says I should talk to Sarah Saunders which I do

Sarah Saunders1Jun2021 NB14:36 outlined PLD. emailed her4Jun NB14:37 has not yet sent email to Jan. will do so8Jun NB14:38 has passed email to Jan. Doesn’t know if Jan has looked at it11Jun NB14:39

LM14Jun LM14Jun2021 SS says I called Pearl a “stupid bitch”. Says she’s heard from many people I have done this. Refuses to help. Hangs up in my ear as I try to resolve. I manage to ask for allegation to be put in writing so can be investigated and refuted.

On 16 June 2021 Tory Whanau emailed me “I’ve also been advised that two staffers have experienced great distress while trying to assist you. As their Chief of Staff I have a responsibility to protect their wellbeing. As such, I’ve requested that your calls not be transferred to all Green parliamentary offices for the time being.”

17 June 2021 email from Tory Whanau “You’ve managed to insult me several times through the emails below, so while you didn’t refer to anyone as a “stupid bitch” you have indeed been rude to me and my staff.”

This is of course pure and utter toxic rubbish from Whanau.

Meanwhile the NZ Greens refuse to introduce a simple LEAD-K Bill which has been modeled worldwide. They continue to frame the issue as me asking for personal research from the Parliament Library (a rubbish accusation of course) when I asked them to get access to data about the extent of PLD which Neil Heslop the General Manager of the NZ Southern Cochlear Implant Program (SCIP) refuses to release.


Blame the media for the drug epidemic

[Image description: graphic round head with tentacles like Medusa indicating a drug trip]

The FBI drug bust of June 2021 using the encrypted app Anon is ridiculous.

The police framing of this story has been blindly accepted by the media and we are supposed to lap it up.

The real story is that this is a huge waste of resources for very little return. It’s a story of stupidity. It’s a story of a small group of people trying to tell the rest of us how to think.

In fact most of us know that the war on drugs is a farce and drugs should be legalised – the science is clear on that.

The media should be laughing at this disgusting police PR campaign. Instead, they enable it for clickbait.

Back on 6 June 1998 a letter was delivered to the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan which said “the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself.”

The letter was signed by statesmen, politicians, academics and other public figures. Former UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar signed. So did George Shultz, the former US Secretary of State, and Joycelyn Elders, the former US Surgeon General. Nobel laureates such as Milton Friedman and Argentina’s Adolfo Perez Esquivel added their names. Four former presidents and seven former cabinet ministers from Latin American countries signed.

Yet here we are in 2021, still going backwards. Ugggh. Clickbait has a lot to answer for.

Avoid toxic Deaf Aotearoa NZ (DANZ)

Image description: skull and crossbones

Below is advice I give to people when the issue of DANZ comes up. I would welcome a defamation suit from DANZ or anyone else so I can prove these allegations in court. I have mountains of evidence to do so. DANZ should be run by Deaf people, not hearing people.

I give this advice in the public interest.

Advice starts:

At all costs avoid dealing with Deaf Aotearoa NZ (DANZ). They are a toxic bullying organisation run by a toxic hearing bully called Lachlan Keating.

He purports via his organisation to speak for the Deaf community in NZ. He doesn’t.

If a Deaf person complains about him or about DANZ he gets his lawyers to write letters threatening defamation suit and demanding grovelling public apologies. He is reviled by them and they have set up their own independent group.

That said, he does of course have a few Deaf compradors and some hearing people (including unfortunately a few interpreters) who have hitched their careers and financial interests to his wagon.

Also very sad is the current DANZ Board (Apr2021) who, although Deaf, are supine and generally believe what Lachlan tells them (classic case of management capture).

He uses the mantra, ironically popular in the Deaf community and used against their own interests by DANZ, that we must not show any division or wash our dirty linen in public, and that to do so is to weaken the voice for positive change.

There are wonderful people in DANZ who try to effect change from within the tent and you will be fortunate if you meet them because most don’t last long in the organisation.

Some quick notes on learning NZSL

Image description: hands of diverse people form a heart


First up. Get a teacher or join a class. I made the huge mistake of thinking I could learn NZSL by watching and repeating videos by myself on the computer. WRONG and enormous hubris. I missed so many features of the language because I was completely unaware of them. And I got into bad habits. eeeek

A hard part in my learning NZSL was that it has no verb to be.

NZSL includes Non-Manual signals (NMS) = grammatical and semantic features other than hands. ie facial expressions, head tilting, shoulder raising, mouthing, body movement, eyebrow raises etc

Other linguistic features are eye contact (if you break contact it’s either for grammatical reasons or you are being rude), signing space, role shifting and classifiers (the artform called Visual Vernacular makes heavy use of classifiers).

Classifiers are not words, rather they use hand gestures to describe and/or represent a noun and perhaps the action it undergoes. They include:

    Size and Shape Specifiers (SASS)
    Texture, consistency and quality classifiers
    Entity classifiers
    Body parts classifiers
    Mass or quantity classifiers
    Handling or instrumental classifiers
    Element classifiers

And, as in any language, minimal pairs need close attention. Below is my list of NZSL minimal pairs (funeral/introduce was a funny one).

And Deaf Culture is a HUGE learning curve which needs careful attention. Here’s a little bit about sign names for example and more of my cultural blunders. Sorry to my Deafie friends and thank you once again for your enormous patience and love. Here’s some more notes on learning a new language.

Some NZSL minimal pairs (sorry about the random numbers – they refer to my database of videos):

control/cope mouthing
disgusting q72/sick
late/time q30/q31 [late swipes down, time pivots]
drown/gap q12/q20 mouthed differently
Wales/ Wellington
poor/lazy (p32)
magnet/fart (magnet h83 has curled fingers )
woman/automatic (a54) (different directions of thumb)
yellow/committee (mouthing)
hotdog/flower (652)
cupboard j14/newspaper (diff mouthing AND diff handshape)
sorry/dangerous [i97] /serious [i98 lips very different]
3 versions of soon sw 378/623 [back of hand faces viewer]/p73
humiliate/cheap [different mouth patterns]
zoo/museum/wild (differ by mouthing)
lust/Picton/picnic/cruel/meat/Kilbirnie/St Kilda
life/feel mouthing
face-up-to n23/soon (MergeVictoriaJaimeECEexpo.mp4)
nephew m31/fall over
news/j14 cupboard
hope/close i69
Canada h76/boast
fabric/wet/dry [fabric – thumb rubbed across fingers. wet 942,944 – thumb tapped twice on fingers. dry – whole sign is drawn out longer]
constitution/course [mouthing]
cl:thumb-hit-ground/fall over hard xx g37
lie/kill (lie =quick swipe across mouth, kill is across throat)
13/33 14/44 15/55
later/do g99
UFO/long time no see
The dog was passive.
my finger twister (like tongue twisters) =

  1. My cute brown niece from Adelaide who owes me money used a temporary visa to visit for Christmas.
  2. My laptop has calendar
    steel/ easy (mouthing both same)/Finland
    wallet/ book
    game/sport brother agree
    cruel, bully murder
    Feilding period (menses)
    sauna airborne substance, such as: smoke, dust, heat, fumes, vapour, steam, pollution.
    soup yoghurt
    bugger/ again
    riddance [2 fingers] joke [three fingers]
    police (two fingers separated drawn around wrist) doctor (two fingers joined tapped on wrist), apprentice
    careful (730) find out
    black warm maori moko
    day date
    look-after find
    sister steal
    father Friday February
    not flat [in not the hands cross over]
    crave disappointed [differ by facial expression]
    most try learn
    think worry (worry has twist)
    lungs clothes bathe
    safe like
    sleep end

Boxing, my Spinoff subscription and a database dump

[Image description: blood splatter on kitchen floor after domestic violence]

I love The Spinoff, one of Aotearoa’s best independent online magazines and donated to them after their vast improvement from its early days. It used to be a load of pop culture garbage. It’s now a great site for brilliant commentary and articles about important social and economic issues. This morning again I was incredibly grateful to read Scott Hamilton’s incisive evisceration of the racist Michael Bassett. It’s the sort of writing and the sort of site I want to support.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that I refuse to support any media outlet which glorifies or promotes boxing. I’ve blogged about boxing before and The Spinoff editor Duncan Grieve and I have exchanged emails about it. I’ve told Duncan that until he stops promoting “sports” where the aim is to cause head injury I won’t be donating again. It’s a pity, but there it is. I fail to understand how a site with The Spinoff’s commitment to a better Aotearoa can in conscience support this stupid barbarity.

I don’t have lots of time to polish this blog and argue the case again – it’s a no brainer anyway – instead I thought I’d just share my database dump on boxing. If you want any further details from the material below, let me know.

start boxing sw start box sw start CTE sw
“8 Tragic Boxers Who Died in the Ring | RIP” by Tales of the Crypt boxing deaths =
Title: 10 Tragic Deaths In a Boxing Ring =
earlier one deleted by youtube. youtube.com/watch?v=bQB3CCSLqlQ
Published by Boxing Legends TV 10Apr2016 but deleted by youtube. try “8 Tragic Boxers Who Died in the Ring | RIP” by Tales of the Crypt
Big shock.
Southern DHB defends boxing.pdf
NZ Sport Participation rates.pdf
Richard Thomson ( board member) queried the appropriateness of boxing $ going to fund the children’s ward in Southland. As I recall nobody from management spoke about it, but Neville Cook , an Invercargill member, defended the Fight for Life as a fund-raiser.
Says horse riding worse. Yes but numbers participating? In fact netball costs more in injuries
Man who hits others professionally in the head and gets hit professionally in the head … is an idiot.
boxing helmet crap.doc
‘Lucy Brown dies after boxing Aug2018.txt’
‘Boxing Alley Parnell owner in denial.txt’
‘boxer Neville Knight died 2016 hamilton.txt’
Cath Tizard pp198-9 hates boxing
Southern DHB is the same DHB which supports the minority “sport” of boxing as a fundraiser!! The medical literature is replete with deaths from this activity, including by participants wearing helmets. The American Medical Association has called for a ban on boxing saying it is an “obscenity” that “should not be sanctioned by any civilized society.” Since then, the British, Canadian and Australian Medical Associations also have called for bans on boxing.
More than two decades after the World Medical Association called for a ban on boxing, knocking a person senseless is still condoned, even celebrated.But the Southern DHB equates this barbaric practice with “helping” disadvantaged kids. That is disgusting in the extreme.
Footballer deescribes how concussion wrecked his life and damaged relationship
ACC Injury Statistics 2008-9 Section 20.pdf
Data on participation rates in sport in NZ is published by SPARC (Sport and Recreation NZ) at:
this does not list boxing as a popular sport. Boxing is a minority interest
2010 Feb 12 NZPA – Southland District Health Board (DHB) has agreed to merge with neighbouring Otago despite opposition from medical staff.
Joseph Parker astute media user
Patrick McKendry.png
in spinoff pathetic promo piece 18May2020
end box sw

What ENT Surgeons don’t know about Deaf PLD

[Image description: photo of a newborn baby’s ear]

  1. Bad Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons (ENT) still advise parents of newborn Deaf babies not to learn sign language. Middling ENTs say sign language is an “approach” or a “choice”. Good ENTs know that the science is in strong support of bilingualism in order to avoid language deprivation. The good ones are in full support of sign language.

2. The bad and middling ENTs do this because that’s what they were taught. They refuse to admit their teachers were wrong. They refuse to admit they are wrong. They deny the science best set out by Tom Humphries et al – Clinical Pediatrics 2016, Vol. 55(6) 513­–517, pdf, and British Medical Journal. If they can even be bothered, they quibble like climate deniers about it. Usually they just ignore petitions like this one.

3. Their stubborn refusal causes a horrific 1/3 risk of PLD (Persistent Language Delay). PLD people never acquire a full language and have enormous trouble remembering what language they know. The best example of PLD in modern times is Genie. PLD people often behave in ways that used to be called Deaf and Dumb (another horrible hangover from history). The disturbing fact is that PLD people are still being created every day by the arrogance of some ENTs.

4. PLD causes dreadful lives of dysfunction, poor socialization (PLD people never really learn the rules of interacting with other people), no real friendships (impossible to communicate properly without language), violence (lashing out in frustration), prison, poor health (especially mental health), poverty, exploitation, alienation from their own children and families etc etc.

5. PLD people are often sequestered at home by parents who are ashamed of, or deny, their failure. But that failure is usually not their fault. When a PLD person’s parents die they are even worse off.

6. I know PLD people and have seen these things with my own eyes.

7. This post is not denying that cochlear implants have value. But we know from the science that 1/3 of cochlear implant programs fail for Deaf kids. Most ENTs are long gone and don’t see the failed lives their wrong advice has created. In New Zealand, PLD data is held by Neil Heslop, Southern Cochlear Implant Program General Manager, but he refuses to share it. Sadly, there are also no votes in politicians getting involved – and believe me I have tried and tried and tried.

8. Lastly, if your baby is born Deaf, learn sign language. You’ll enjoy it and your child will thank you forever.

9. Please sign the petition (and HUGE thanks to the ENTs, doctors, scientists and professionals and all the Deaf people who have signed already). We can end PLD overnight if we want to.