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Public Library demolition suggestion over the top

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington
17 June, 2019

Dear Editor:

Angela Foster (3 June Opinion) gives a wonderful defence of the importance of public buildings, especially the Public Library which startlingly is being considered for demolition in the face of its merits and popularity. Then she responsibly goes on to describe a perhaps ‘inconvenient’ fact that building construction is a very high contributor to CO2 emissions.
What I’m not hearing from anyone, however, is what kind of damage the Library had sustained from the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. Two recently constructed public buildings, Statistics House and Defence House were damaged so severely they had to be abandoned (are they still standing, even?). Argosy Property is making a $39M insurance claim for its Waterloo Quay property. Was there no damage to the Library? Surely with no or little damage public safety can be enhanced by upgrade. What the demolition suggestion looks like is more an attack on the very concept of public service buildings. Not new, but more boldly visible than ever before.

Sincerely,
Richard Keller

published 19/06/19

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P5 warplanes ruin characterization of the budget as “wellbeing”

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington

1 June, 2019

Dear Editor:

It’s ludicrous calling this budget ‘wellbeing’ when military spending continues to rise. UN Secretary General António Guterres when recently visiting New Zealand reminded us that states need to build security through diplomacy and dialogue. Increasing military spending globally is taking resources away from the desperate needs of war torn parts of the world and the same can be said about this budget.  At best worthless, the new attack warplanes will take 2B$ out of education, health, you name it.  At worst these increases are dragging the NZ character down into the abyss of a fearful world view insisted upon by the Five Eyes spy network magnified today by US President Donald Trump.  This view is consistent with a colonial history but contradicts an anti-nuclear vision of the future.  Which will define ‘who we are’ as a nation?

Sincerely,

Richard Keller

published 4/6/2019

 


LGWM, second Mt Vic tunnel, and LGWHACC

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington

21 May, 2019

Dear Editor:

Let’s Get Wellington Honest About Climate Change. I’d like to think that LGWM would get over its outdated enthusiasm for a second traffic tunnel at Mt Victoria.  To suggest a second vehicle tunnel is to give the impression fossil fuel use reduction is not really as urgent as it is.  To combine a second tunnel and a light rail system, even with a sudden rush of climate change concern from some politicians and others, may seem similar to using methadone to suppress heroin addiction, but in this case there will be no significant suppression of the stubborn long term obsession with the personal motor car as long as there is a second traffic tunnel.

Sincerely,

Richard Keller

published 23 May

 


The neo-liberal, desperation and determination

To Brian Easton on Pundit

Hi Brian,

Good to look at policy and results on the subject of inequality.   But also the larger cultural / historical context can enlighten and alter the discussion about it.

Globally, the neo-liberal imperative pushing back egalitarianism began to take a hold in the eighties after two decades of revelation about existential threats to civilisation, primarily under the heading of ecosphere desctruction (climate change) and nuclear weapons, which exposed the centruries long (or millenially long) exploitation approach to be unsustainable.

Some anthropologists (e.g. Jared Diamond) have suggested that societies past have reached such an existential crisis, sometimes choosing to change to survive while others have decided they’d rather hold on to their world view.  The neo-liberals I would suggest recognize that the challenge to their world view is planetary and has a feeling of finality about it this time.  Money being what it is to our exploitation culture, there is a thrust to accumulate greater and greater wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer entities (corporations, individuals) as a way of bringing the cutural history of their world view to a some sort of glorious conclusion, approaching a sort of economic sigularity if you will.


No Second Traffic Tunnel at Mt. Victoria!!

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington

18 May, 2019

Dear Editor:

Let’s Get Wellington Honest About Climate Change.   Read the rest of this entry »


No second vehicle tunnel!

The Editor,  The Dom Post,  Wellington

14 May, 2019

Dear Editor:

The most important result from the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project should be that there is no second vehicle tunnel. Read the rest of this entry »


Remember Alfred E Newman?

In response to Daily Kos article on Trump calling Pete Buttigieg, “Alfred E Newman.”

Ironically, Alfred E Newman, comic character from Mad Magazine, ran for president in 1980 (put forward during the campaign by Mad Mag, anyway, though perhaps didn’t make it officially onto any ballots).  And he won!  Well in effect he won.  Newman was the “What, me worry?” character which was perfect for his time as it was after the 60’s and 70’s when so many fundamental challenges emerged that people started turning off to those realities.  Ronald Reagan was the ‘what, me worry’ candidate and he won (two terms!)  The USA for one has never recovered from that.  Donald Trump is the political/cultural grandson of Reagan so has been the perfect candidate in the Post Truth Era.  “What, me worry” has morphed into the more  dangerous “Post Truth Era” as the truth and seriousness of those challenges has become widely, almost universally, understood, inducing widespread denial in order to cope.