Auckland Museum thinks we’re all “screaming” idiots

It seems that there is a bit of a pattern emerging in the disagreement over ‘ownership rights’ of Sir Edmund Hillary’s papers between his children and the Auckland Museum.

The Auckland Museum is now saying that they have;

“complex and nuanced points – when it appears we can get them across without being screamed at by the public for being disrespectful, we will reengage

Does anyone see what’s wrong here?

This is a public organisation, but it clearly is not used to having it’s agenda challenged, especially publicly. Vanda Vitalli hasn’t given any interviews, won’t discuss it expect through finely crafted press releases, won’t speak to the Hillary family (but claims they can ring her any time), and now they feel that we’re all a bit hysterical for questioning their motives over ownership. They’re lack of communication skills is clearly annoying the Herald otherwise they wouldn’t have published that letter (what on earth were they thinking???)

How about you put out a press release with your “complex and nuanced points” so we can all make our own decisions?

Or do you think we’re all a bit thick to understand them Vanda?

Top claim that they will reengage on their terms, when they feel ready, smacks of arrogance. They could have put out a press release with their points right when this all was made public. Like I said, this didn’;t happen overnight and they surely must have seen where events were headed – into the public arena. 

Vanda and her PR team are making a really bad call here, the longer they leave explaining what they were doing the worse things will get, and currently they have handed the stage, and the mor5al high ground, to the Hillary family.

Vanda and Co and being “disrespectful”, to the public. Clearly they think the issues are too complex for the great unwashed, and I suppose a bunch of academics stuck in a stone mausoleum overlooking Auckland might be forgiven for thinking they were a bit too special  to have to justify their actions to the public who provide the money for their operations.

Bad mistake. 

As a story for the MSM to pick up and run with, this is great, it has a feud over property rights, a famous deceased NZder, a public institution, and an American. 

A suggestion to the museum would be to get a new PR team, do a press conference and explain yourselves. This won’t go away and you’re inability to state what you are trying to achieve leads everone to suspect the worst. If this isn’t the case it shouldn’t be too difficult to explain that, should it?

If your’e planning to dig your way out of this hole, you’re going to need some pretty heavy equipment. I’m not sure people thought you were being disrespectful, just a bit money grubbing and sneaky, now we can add arrogant to the list – disrespectful is about to be added.


Government double standards on Myanmar / Burma

There was the usual tutting and “dismay” as the loathsome Military Dictatorship in Burma once again engaged in slapping Aung San Suu Kyi around. Nothing like kicking someone when they are down.

Captain Orcon, cuddling up to dictators and repressive regimes since 2006

Captain Orcon, cuddling up to dictators and repressive regimes since 2006

Our latest Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, made all the right noises, but right under his nose a Government/Taxpayer owned company is still trading in that region and quite possibly doing work for the Military Dictatorship.

Kordia, the parent company of Orcon, apparently thinks just fine to do business in Burma, and still advertises the fact that it has business there on it’s website, it also throws in another repressive regime, Laos into the mix for good measure. 

I’m not sure how Kordia/Orcon justify doing business in Burma, no doubt some bollocks about not doing business with the regime, although it’s impossible to do any business in Burma without dealing with the military, who in turn are controlled by the regime, who are just there to line their pockets of the backs of the Burmese.

I don’t see the consistency it Government policy by making a fuss about Fiji, ignoring China and it’s appalling human rights record, and then allowing a state owned enterprise to operate in what is universally agreed, is an appallingly despotic and venal regime in Burma.

Next time you are thinking about switching your ISP, or some ‘dude’ from Orcon shows up trying to sell you some new service or an Internet package, maybe you’ll want to consider that this is part of a company that’s done business with a regime that stood by and let thousands of people die a while back during the cyclone, they refused international assistance, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Burmese Military Regime is a disgusting excuse for a government. No state (read taxpayer) owned business should be doing any business there. 

Possibly a bit of pressure is required to make Orcon/Kordia come clean about what there business interests are in Thailand (usual launch pad for Myanmar/Burma) and Laos?

That could start by customers deciding there are other options for internet providers, ones that don’t deal with repressive regimes, like (dare I suggest it) Telecom.

Is Auckland Museum planning to make money out of SirEd’s papers?

My heart sank when I saw the headline, “Sir Ed’s family sues over papers”. This is just the kind of undignified shit fight that often goes on in families after a death, and inevitably involves money.

This case it appears, is no different, but there’s a twist.


Dr Vitali - a step to far with Sir Ed's legacy?

The Hillary children are disputing the Auckland Museum interpretation of their rights of ownership of the material that Sir Edmund Hillary bequeathed to the museum.

It looks like Hillary’s intention was that while the museum had possession of the papers and photos, obviously so they could be shared with the public, they were required to consult the Hillary children over the use of them. This was probably intended to stop the Museum doing something like selling them, or allowing them to be used or published in a way that would offend the family. Fair enough.

So why is the Auckland Museum, which is never exactly flush with funds, getting involved in a court case to test their interpretation of the will? Exactly what this interpretation is they haven’t made clear, but it looks like they want to have sole publishing rights of the material, which would clearly be quite lucrative for the museum – they could cash in by publishing the material and licencing the photographs etc.

What’s interesting is that Dr Vanda Vitali, now Director of the Museum, and formally director of the Los Angeles Museum, what comment and will not talk to the Hillary children about the matter. All rather odd, and confirms that the museum has decided to take a hard nosed approach to the possibility of turning some cash out of Hillary’s legacy.

This is all rather unfortunate and Dr Vitali might be making a mistake. I suspect the public won’t like what she’s planning to do and see it as a money grab.

If Dr Vitali is worried about getting her hands on some cash, marching off to court is not the way to do it – yeah, I know that’s how things are done in Los Angeles, but not here sister. Sitting down with Hillary’s children and coming to a mutually satisfactory arrangement with some dignity is what’s required. I’m not saying that Sir Ed’s kids are the easiest people to get on with, Peter Hillary seems an ‘interesting’ individual, but Dr Vitali owes it to the public to approach this issue with some dignity and not get involved in a silly and costly legal shit fight.

Dr Vitali seems to be a pretty bolshy individual and has been ruffling feathers at the museum for some time now, this might be a step to far as we, the public pay her wages.

Dr Vitali might be underestimating how pissed off we might all become if she starts being pushy and aggressive with the belongings of one of NZ greatest hero’s.

Chinese propganda right here in NZ

You’d probably think that when someone immigrates to a new country, that they will in some way embrace the life style and culture of that new society – otherwise they would have been better off staying at home.

So with Chinese immigrants you’d naturally think they would be willing to embrace the freedoms both political and economic offered by immigrating from a Nationalist Dictatorship with Communist trappings, to a liberal democracy in NZ.

But maybe this isn’t what’s happening.

Anne-Marie Brady is an expert in Chinese propaganda and is such a high level expert that she has given a presentation to a United States security commission.

Unfortunately she says, and this is not difficult to confirm, that in fact many ‘local’ Chinese immigrants and still heavily influenced by the Chinese regimes propoganda.

There would be an easy way to counter this, starting in schools, and all NZders have something to learn from it. Start teaching history, make it compulsory and include Asian history in the curriculum.

China is going to be an important player in our area in the next decade, better we start teaching our young about their history and what has happened, and immigrants offspring the truth, so that they are able to make informed decision without being influenced by the Chinese regime.

The last we we need in NZ if we run into difficulties with the Chinese is a sizable domestic population in thrall of wrong headed and untrue propaganda!

Politicians miss the point over Bank profits

It’s not surprising the main banks are raking the money in. We’ve had high interest rates for years now, and the majority of the lending (mortgages) is locked in on long term loans that will see the profits roll in for some time to come.

Banks here have also been fairly careful about lending and have moved swiftly to call in any dodgy looking mortgages.

I’m guessing that the Reserve Bank Governor and Bill English are playing to the public gallery when they make nosies about being “disappointed” banks are not passing on the lower interest rates.

It’s all about pretty basic economics, supply and demand.

There is still a strong demand for mortgage lending, strong enough for the banks to not have to compete too strongly with each other for customers, and this is why interest rates are not falling. If the actual pool of mortgage customers had shrunk to the point that the main banks were fighting each other for custom, then you can be sure that rates would be a lot lower. Unfortunately the only way this will happen is if the housing market collapses completely and buyers dry up, and so far this hasn’t happened. There are still enough people out there who can ‘afford’ to pay the high rates and meet the stricter lending requirements for mortgages.

Until the demand drops, Bill English and Alan Bollard can whine all they like, but things won’t change as Banks don’t have to budge. Naturally both of them know this, well, you’d hope they understand this, which is why this is all nice headline material for the MSM.

If the MSM wasn’t so lazy and allowed Politicians to write their stories for them, what they would be doing is calling out the Banks over what they are doing with the profits and why they needed to shed staff so quickly. They could also ask why the ANZ Chairman was tooling around the Pacific being treated like royalty in a corporate jet while the bank was crying poor and laying off staff. They could also be doing a bit more digging on how the ANZ is screwing it’s customers over with the ING scam, where it put customers money into high risk investments, telling them it was low risk. Those events would make for a far more interesting stories.

Mt Albert voters a bit ‘slow’


Surprised Mt Albert citizen "wait, WTF! I though bulldozers were little yellow things???, run for your life"

Surprised Mt Albert citizen "wait, WTF! I though bulldozers were little yellow things???, run for your life"

If the nut-job racist locum Pharmacist hadn’t told you volumes about the sort of voter Mt Albert had (aside from voting for Helen for years), then the Motorway situation surely does.

If you were a voter in Mt Albert and wanted the tunnel option, then surely it must have occurred to you that as National has a majority in Parliament, that they were the horse to back? Helen only gave you the outrageously expensive tunnel option to win some votes.

Miss Clark got 14894 votes last election, based on the extra cost of $1.5 billion that’s $110,711.69 per voter, in other words, Labour were prepared to grease the palms of Mt Albert voters with your taxes by $110,711.69 per head to ensure control of the seat.

Why would National bother? It doesn’t need to votes or extra seat to stay in power. Not having the seat already it has nothing to lose by looking fiscally responsible and shoving the road through over land – like it was planned for in the dark ages 1950’s.

The only way to change that would be for the 14894 Labour voters to figure out they are about to be lumbered with a light-weight ring-in Labour MP, and realise that if they voted National, then National might be obligated to mitigate the effects of the road, because they would be in the same position as Labour.

The rest of us in Auckland are sick to death with the endless delays in finishing the roading system in Auckland and our patience with the twits in Mt Albert who are threatening to stand in front of the bulldozers ran out years ago. Just build the damn road, yesterday!

It’s also a demonstration of Nationals business acumen that they’ve decided to go ahead with the over land option – because buying up those properties in Mt Albert in the current property market would be a bargain, they must have dropped by at least 50% it not being the most attractive part of Auckland, just putting that out there!

Rankin appointment inspired

Christine with her baubles of office...

Christine with her baubles of office...

National’s appointment of Christine Rankin to the Families Commission is inspired.

This is going to be a win/win for them no matter how it goes. 

While Christine is no doubt passionate about ‘families’ – whatever the hell that is nowadays – she’s also become a bit of a talk show circuit celebrity. The reason she’s so good on talk-back, or National Radio, is that she’s  good for ratings always going to say something bordering on insane and is guaranteed to get hand wringing liberals frothing at the mouth and the lines running hot.

Christine is divisive, and it you had a Commission that would make you look heartless and Tory by ditching, hell, keep it on, just stack it with your cronies. This is what the thing was set up (by Labour) for, a nice harmless place to give your political mates a juicy paid position to keep them out of your hair.

If Christine and Co turn the whole thing into a circus, National can wind it up, claiming it’s dysfunctional. If, on the other hand, they make something out of it, National can claim it was sensible to put her in.

And in the mean time, if the hand wringers and trough gorgers keep resigning in protest, then that’s achieving something useful as well.

As I said, inspired!