10 Nov: Homily (Winston Peters Again) and Tweets

I don’t know if there are any tweets about it because I haven’t looked, but a story in the Washington Post is causing a bit of a furore here. A USian living in NZ, Ben Mack, wrote a story for them called ‘How the far right is poisoning New Zealand‘. It’s incredibly ill-informed and quite maddening.

The “far right” he’s talking about is Winston Peters, who I’ve railed against several times in my homilies. Now personally, I have no time for Peters or his party, NZ First. When I saw the result of our election and the realization hit me that whoever lead our government, Peters was going to be a part of it, I was extremely unhappy. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy for him to be smeared in the international press.

Peters is not far-right. He’s a populist. He’s our version of Donald Trump. He treats the media like crap. He says outrageous things that he knows will appeal to certain segment of society. He’s anti-Asian immigration. He wants our immigration numbers slashed by tens of thousands. And there’s legislation already before parliament to prevent foreigners buying existing (not building new) houses here.

However, that’s pretty much where the similarities to Trump end. Unlike Trump, Peters is an extremely talented politician. (Even his greatest enemies will admit that if they’re honest.) He’s mostly honest. He doesn’t pander to the religious right. And, he actually has some genuine policy achievements under his belt from past stints in government.

Mack says that Peters is:

Appealing to ethnically homogenous, overwhelmingly cisgender male voters with limited education and economic prospects who feel they’re being left behind in a changing world is nothing new for the far right.

But there aren’t actually that many of those in New Zealand, and most of them vote for Labour anyway. The people Peters appeals to most is the Grey vote, and though the demographics aren’t yet available I suspect a slight majority of his supporters are women. The general profile of the NZ First voter is older people who are uncomfortable with the increasing diversity of New Zealand society. They are happy with a bi-cultural New Zealand, but not a multi-cultural one. They call themselves New Zealanders and feel the term applies to anyone born here – most of whom are of British, Irish, or Maori descent. They’re okay with Asians who were born here too on the whole, but they don’t like anyone whose first language isn’t English, especially if their skin isn’t white.

By appealing to those people, Peters has a solid base, but he only got seven percent of the vote. Most people eschew his message. This isn’t the US where a combination of “deplorables” and a two-party system got Trump into the White House. If Peters tries to push his luck here he will be punished at the ballot box, and he knows it. He tried it before and his support fell below the five percent threshold for getting into parliament. We may have to put up with Peters for three years. But unlike Trump, he isn’t actually incompetent and he’s also pragmatic. And if he screws up, no one will vote for him. That’s the beauty of the MMP electoral system and an educated electorate.

And apart from New Zealand First, the other two parties in the three-party governing coalition are Labour and the Greens. We have babies in the house now. Yesterday the speaker had to hold one of the babies while his mother was making a speech. Maternity leave is about to be increased to 26 weeks. The minimum wage is going up faster than before; by 1 April 2021 it will be $20 per hour. There’s a lot more along those lines too. We have a progressive government that is making so many promises I worry that we can’t pay for them. Whatever it is, this government is NOT “right wing”.


Political Tweets

I think there might be a backlash against the ignorance perpetrated by the US president. His ghastly rhetoric is making more people aware of issues such as these, and the majority are realizing that, for example, transgender is nothing to be afraid of.


BTW, just so you know.


I understand how the women in this feel. It would be a huge thrill to meet former president Obama!


When you’re a Republican, it appears it’s only bad to commit sexual harassment when the victim is male.


This is really good news! (And not the sort of thing a “right wing” government would do, by the way!)


Mueller Time Tweets

This is very good!

Gun Safety Tweets

The rules aren’t quite as stringent in New Zealand, but they are similar. We don’t have many gun deaths either.
(Via “Archie Debunker”.)


Isn’t it time more was done to stop gun deaths?
(Via “Archie Debunker”.)


Healthcare Tweets

WTF is wrong with the USA? How could the hospital even consider denying surgery for this reason? Effing unbelievable!


Human Rights Tweets

A woman shouldn’t have to go through this to make sure her attacker can’t victimize someone else.


Religion Tweets

This guy is state auditor of Alabama FFS! As many others on Twitter are saying, I thought there was nothing left that could surprise me about the US far right.
(Via Ann German.)


Believe it or not, that was Louis Fer’s defence of Roy Moore’s shenanigans!

History Tweets

There were people who stood up to Hitler. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough of them.


Science Tweets

Science is fun!


Environment Tweets

It’s amazing the change in such a short time.
(Via “Archie Debunker”)


New Zealand is a bit behind Europe when it comes to recycling, and we need to step up our game. This Auckland company is a great example of some of those that are doing their best to improve things here.


This is effing unbelievable!


Art Twets

Now that’s a phone case!


What an amazing studio! I’d like it for a bedroom!


Laughing at death.


Entertainment Tweets

It apparently tastes the same, but would it really be as satisfying?


I can relate!


Scenic Tweets

This is very cool!


Enjoy this wonderful 10 minute video tour of the Bystock Nature Reserve in Devon.


What a cool place!


Freshwater Tweets

How cool is this?!


Marine Tweets

From the YouTube description: “Never before have humans journeyed to the Antarctic deep sea. Scientist Dr Jon Copley reveals what it’s like to travel 1000m beneath the ice.”

What are they talking about?


Great white shark versus camera!


Insect Tweets

Insect tweets includes all creepy crawlies, like spiders …


There is no such thing as a cute cockroach. They are all evil, disgusting creatures!!!!!!!!!


Once I know what they are, they lose all their appeal!!!!!!!!!


Spiders are pretty bloodthirsty critters, but much nicer than the insects in the two above tweets somehow.


Very cool! A grasshopper that looks like the stones around it!


How’s this for mimicry?!

I’m not even sure I’ve put this in the right section! WTF is it?


Other Animals Tweets

Oh wow! A baby sloth! Extreme cuteness!

New Zealand has only one native mammal – and it’s a bat.


Bird Tweets

A kakapo peeking out at the camera from it’s nest in a hollow tree.

Kiwi chicks are so cute and fluffy!

The whio is a NZ native duck – and here’s a paddling of them for you to enjoy!

I missed this cool tweet when the Kea won the Bird of the Year competition.


Dog Tweets

Learning to dog paddle!


Dr Andrew Digby uses especially trained dogs to find takahe nests.




Cat Tweets

We have a lovely new Simon’s Cat video today! As always, it’s lots of fun.


Another good t-shirt message.

How cute!

How to react?


What a cool dude!


The linings of some of my curtains look like this due to the cat of a prior occupant!

Get out and smell the daisies?

Gourgeousness of the day!


I hope it’s on the way to my place!



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22 Responses to “10 Nov: Homily (Winston Peters Again) and Tweets”

  1. ratabago says:

    The WTF is it of the drunk evolution post above is a plant hopper nymph of some kind — a baby true bug.

    For your consideration, a shot I took of my favourite cockroach, the rather hansom “elegant Australian cockroach”: Ellipsidion australe on Flickr. They’re kind of well behaved too, they don’t like being indoors. But I’ll understand if you don’t find it cute. I’ve also got a couple of shots of Apricia jovialis, under their older name of Breda jovialis, on Flickr. They’re a really cute spider. There are a few of them that live in my house, and many more in the yard.

    That Senate testimony of Trump’s candidate for environmental advisor is gut bustingly funny. Pity it’s also tragic.

    • Thanks for the info! That’s a great photo of yours of the-insect-that-shall-not-be-named! I’m not on Flickr unfortunately, but I’d love to see your spiders too. I’d like it a lot more if it was a type of stink bug or something though! 😀

      That testimony would be hilarious if it wasn’t real. Imagine going to a job interview, giving answers like that, and still getting the job! Imagine the level of respect she’s going to get from her team and other employees! So much for Trump employing the best people. I don’t know how people have the gall to take these jobs they’re so clearly unqualified for. And I think of her drawing a decent salary while she looks down her nose at an unemployed person in the way so many do, especially on her side of the aisle. Why does she deserve a job ahead of the those she looks down on?

      • ratabago says:

        “I don’t know how people have the gall to take these jobs they’re so clearly unqualified for.’

        The problem is that she thinks she is qualified. She:
        1/. Is Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. A “Think Tank” that appears to indulge solely in polemic, with no investigative component.

        2/. Worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,including a stint as its Chairperson. This Commission is claimed to be the second largest environmental regulatory agency after the EPA.

        3/. It seems she doesn’t think science addresses truths, and even if it did it should be ignored when it conflicts with profit. Therefore disagreeing with, or ignoring science is not a problem. A quote from her interview with The Rolling Stone, Sept 2016: “We’re not a democracy if science dictates what our rules are.”

        4/. Thinks carbon dioxide is merely a plant nutrient, and that ozone and airborne particulate matter have no adverse health effects except at extreme concentrations.

        5/. Co-authored the book that informs nearly all Trumps energy and environmental policy — Fueling Freedom.

        6/. Worked for the Trump campaign.

        There is a truck load more of this, but I think this will do. So, she has worked in this area, has the right attitude and opinions, deserves it, and is one of the very few people who can be trusted to make the right decisions. The fact that after years working in the field she has learnt nearly nothing, and understands even less, may well be something she sees as an advantage. It’s like dealing with creationists.

        I knew nearly nothing about Hartnett White before her testimony, so I went and looked her up. I wasn’t surprised to find she used to work for the Cattlemen’s Beef Association. An organization that in part empowers the sense of entitlement of the likes of Cliven Bundy.

      • ratabago says:

        Some spider shots:
        Apricia/Breda jovialis from above
        Apricia/Breda jovialis side view at 1.5x magnification

        Just to add to the merriment, I think the CSIRO’s recently released field guide lists this species as Ocrisiona jovialis

        I’ve got shots a little over 20 spider’s on Flickr. Here is one of an Areneus sp., just because I think it is pretty.

  2. Jenny Haniver says:

    One of the many neat things about your twitter posts is that they lead to other fascinating sites, and those to others, and then to new links; so tonightI learned about more wild looking planthopper nymphs, more astounding cockroaches, and several other things. And the ellipsidion australe, mentioned above, is quite beautiful — it’s one that could change my mind about blattids.

    • The #1 sign of intelligence imo! 🙂

      • Federico Bär says:

        Something I ask myself rather often is: what is it that makes me find a person intelligent? I like your formulation of the ability to change one’s mind, as a sign. Would another token be, for example, the capacity to relate apparently totally different situations? Could you name me some other signals?
        (By the way, changing your mind is good. But not too often, I would say! 🙂

        • Being interested in lots of different things is another one I think, and being able to find something interesting in most situations. People who think details are boring are often boring people.

          Also, people talk about learning by seeing, doing, or hearing. I find with intelligent people there isn’t a dominant one. They use all three roughly equally to learn, applying whatever works best in different situations.

          Intelligent people are able to make intuitive but logical leaps with information. So if a less intelligent person tells them everything they know about a subject, the more intelligent person actually knows more because their mind has made links etc with the information that the other person has never seen.

  3. Chris G says:

    Hey Heather,
    Slightly concerned re your ‘Human Rights Tweet’ and the clip concerning Emily Hunt, the UK woman fund-raising to seek a private-prosecution for her rape-allegation.
    As is often case, the reporting of this story appears to conclude a verdict of guilty before a court/jury has even heard the case: the clip refers to Emily as a ‘rape survivor’ who wishes to ‘fight her rapist in court’.
    I think we really need to get into the habit of referring to the accused as ‘alleged-rapist’ (innocent until proven guilty), and the defendant as ‘complainant’ rather than ‘survivor’ or ‘victim’. Unfortunately you’ve erred on this too, in writing “A woman shouldn’t have to go through this to make sure her attacker can’t victimize someone else.” She is not a victim nor he an attacker until proven guilty.
    As is also often the case with rape-allegation, the clip you’ve posted is rather selective in the detail it covers. This recent BBC report ( offers further detail, including “CCTV footage of Ms Hunt and the man showed them kissing and holding hands as they walked to the hotel after leaving a bar”, suggesting maybe he wasn’t a stranger to her. And that toxicology tests “came back negative for any signs of the date rape drug GHB” although Emily believes the tests were flawed.
    Here’s a good article by a UK barrister about private-prosecutions ( in which he explains that “Emily exercised her right to seek a review of a CPS decision, and the case was considered afresh by a specialist prosecutor who upheld the original decision.”
    The CPS (and the specialist) may well have got this case wrong, but we simply don’t know enough detail to be able to judge at this stage.
    And of course, reluctant as I am to say this, we have to allow for the possibility of false-allegation. The fact that I hesitate to even write those words shows how toxic an issue this is. But it seems eminently sensible to take all reports of alleged rape seriously, without automatically ‘believing the victim’ – I think that has to be the initial default position, in this case and all others.
    The accused admitted sex took place, but he claims it was consensual – yet another case of ‘he said/she said’. That doesn’t mean he’s innocent, nor that rape didn’t take place. But, as the CPS concluded based on the evidence available, it may well mean that this case would be unlikely to result in conviction if taken to court,
    Chris G, UK.

  4. Lee Knuth says:

    Some of the tweets I had seen before but nice to see them again. Loved the Simpon’s cat video.

  5. There are two native mammals: the long-tailed and short-tailed bats (different species)

    • You’re correct of course. I knew I wasn’t writing it properly when I said it, so I’m glad you’ve put it right. It’s good to have a biologist as an honorary Kiwi! 🙂

      • nicky says:

        And then kiwis are honorary mammals, as it were.
        I heard there is also a ‘lesser short tailed bat’ that is very ‘terrestrial’, moving through the leaf-litter on the forest floor. Might be a lumper/splitter question for all I know.
        I also think you meant native land-mammals, since NZ has quite a few seals and whales. IIRC, Hector’s dolphin is even endemic to NZ waters.
        There was also the now extinct St Bathan’s mammal. It is thought to have been a very ‘primitive’ mammal surviving in NZ into the Miocene. It is known from only a lower jaw and femur…

  6. nicky says:

    Ms Hartnett White’s cluelessness is outrageously, cringingly appalling. Such a display of ignorance undoubtedly cost her the position, didn’t it?
    That is what these committees are supposed to do -weeding out the grotesquely incompetent-, aren’t they?

    • If only! Just like the Supreme Court is supposed to be apolitical! This is the US dude. If Republicans dominate the committee and the president is Republican, the most incompetent candidates can get through. They’ve already got Scott Pruitt, as well as Betsy de Vos in education, and more.

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