Is The New Zealand Government About to See A Repeat of The 1990s?

The 1990s began with the chaos of a disintegrating Labour Government and ended with the chaos of a disintegrating National one

In the leadup to the 1990 General Election, the New Zealand Labour Party appeared to be falling to pieces. They had gone through three leaders in 15 months, with Mike Moore the most recent to wrest control of the jinxed idol, having convinced the hapless Labour Party caucus that he was a better bet for staving off what was looming as an electoral disaster.

The move turned a disaster into a catastrophe – the National Party won 67 seats in the election compared to Labour’s 29, as the Italy-style rapid changes in leadership gave the wider public the impression that Labour had lost the plot entirely.

This majority was enough for the National Party to force on the nation what the people called “Ruthanasia” – a Budget so callously tight-fisted that it appeared that National were trying to cull the poor through starvation.

The Budget was so unnecessarily cruel – in many cases leaving solo mothers unable to feed their own children at the end of the week – that even New Zealanders were appalled by it, and only by demoting the clearly psychopathic Ruth Richardson to the back benches did the National majority survive the 1993 General Election.

By the next election in 1996, the National Party had eroded most of the trust that Jim Bolger had earned in opposition, and they were only able to govern thanks to a rickety alliance with the New Zealand First Party.

When Jenny Shipley rolled Bolger in 1997, New Zealand had another psychopath in an influential position, and this made the alliance with Winston Peters untenable. Being neither a psychopath nor willing to submit to one, Peters was unable to work with Shipley and was duly sacked.

New Zealand First then disintegrated under the gravitational pull of the National Party as it tried to withdraw from its influence, and the New Zealand electorate responded to the wheels falling off the alliance by chucking the whole thing on the scrapyard.

The National Party was duly destroyed by Helen Clark’s Labour in 1999.

Since Helen Clark took the reins at the end of the 90s there has been nothing but orderly Government, but “History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page…”

Our current situation in the winter of 2017 is fairly precarious, with Bill English having taken the leadership at the resignation of John Key last year. Any development that brought the stability of Bill English’s leadership into question could well lead to a comprehensive National Party loss this September.

The most likely way this would happen is by some scandal being followed by a poll that hinted suggestively at a National Party loss, at which point the National Caucus panics, then Paula Bennett does a Jenny Shipley and convinces the Caucus to support her leadership instead (ironically it was English himself who replaced Shipley as leader of the National Party in 2001).

In other words, Paula Bennett may seize upon any weakness shown by the blundering incumbent PM in order to achieve her own Prime Ministerial ambitions, despite being grossly unfit for the role.

Judith Collins might also play the role of Shipley, depending on who moves first and with what support.

Either would be suicide for the National Party, because there’s nothing less orderly than an involuntary change of leader.

What the public wants, more than anything, is that the Government maintains good order, and what the public needs, more than anything, is that the Government maintains good order.

We don’t actually need it to do much else. If it can simply keep the peace, the rest of us can get on with our lives of commerce and trade. We can make ourselves rich and happy without their help – all we need is for them to not interfere.

From 1840 to the early 1900s New Zealanders developed our country from the Stone Age to first place among all the living standards of the world, and this was achieved without any of the National, Labour, Green or New Zealand First parties existing.

All we need is for the megalomaniacs at the top of the national dominance hierarchy to maintain good order, and we can do the rest.

This is why many political commentators miss the mark when they decry Andrew Little for his lack of charisma.

It’s true that Little has the charisma of a brick, but so what? He’s not going to be personally leading a company of men into battle. He’s going to be inheriting the reins of a civil machine that has been fine-tuned for almost two decades.

His job, as mentioned above, is to maintain order. To that end, being boring is a qualification. He hasn’t said a word about either of the two hot issues stirring up the left at the moment (cannabis law reform and increasing the refugee quota), and this is no doubt a carefully calculated tactic to make him appear suitable as the man to steady the ship.

After all, it’s a heavy increase to the refugee quota that is more likely than anything else to bring a massive amount of chaos to these shores, as both the Green and Opportunity Parties are gagging for it.

Some say that the National Party are the natural ruling party of New Zealand. If there’s any truth to this it’s because the National Party are the best at maintaining good order.

If Little really wants to become Prime Minister this year, all he has to do is what Helen Clark did two decades before him – simply maintain good order in his own party, and wait for the ambition and greed of the National MPs to cause them to devour each other.

Can the Lions Cope With Blitzkrieg Rugby?

Rugby is a game that is based on the laws of battle. The forwards represent the infantry, the backs the cavalry, and the kicker the artillery. Much like warfare, team styles of rugby fall on a spectrum with attritional warfare on one end and manoeuvre warfare at the other.

In the same way that the Wehrmacht shocked its opponents with revolutionary tactics in the opening stages of World War II, the reason why the All Blacks have dominated the world rugby stage for over a decade is that they’re conducting a blitzkrieg while everyone else is in World War I mode.

In other words, the All Blacks are fighting with manoeuvre warfare while everyone else is in the attritional mindset.

The concept of the blitzkrieg was based around two general principles: the schwerpunkt and the kesselschlacht.

A ‘schwerpunkt’ (“heavy point”) refers to a specific point in the enemy defensive line that was targeted for a sudden, intense rush of artillery, armour and infantry, with the specific intent of breaking the line and driving beyond.

Usually this took the form of an intense artillery barrage from multiple batteries concentrated on a single point in the line, followed immediately by a heavy tank charge with the intent of breaching the line, and then infantrymen into the breach with the intent of holding it and keeping it open.

Usually there was more than one schwerpunkt, the idea being that multiple columns of armour would break the enemy line at various points and then, as they penetrated deep into the enemy interior, link up in what was called a pincer movement, as it cleaved off a chunk of the map in a manner akin to the pincers of an insect.

When two or more columns of armour met in the interior of the enemy, that essentially meant that all of the enemy forces between the initial front lines and the two vast lines established by the armour were surrounded in the centre, making it possible to pin them with artillery fire.

Because this led to those enemy forces being rendered into chaos in much the same manner as water boiling in a kettle, this was known as a ‘kesselschlact’ (“kettle battle”).

The reason why this tactic – called blitzkrieg by the British – was so successful is that is allowed the attacker to break up tens of kilometres of enemy defensive line in one movement. This was a drastic change from the usual World War I tactic of winning a few hundred meters at a time in a slow, bloody grind that was vulnerable to counterattack.

Because so much of the enemy line was broken so quickly, it had a tendency to collapse before it could regroup, as was seen in France and the opening weeks of Barbarossa.

So much for the military lesson.

The two distinct styles of rugby union played in the world today could be roughly referred to as the Atlantic and the Pacific styles.

The Atlantic style is the traditional, attritional style of rugby favoured by the Northern Hemisphere sides and by South Africa and Argentina. It is otherwise known as “tight”, “10 man” or “up the jumper” rugby and refers to a love of mauls, scrums, pick and gos, high bombs, one-out crashballing, pinpoint kicking and generally just mudwrestling – essentially World War I-style tactics in miniature.

The Pacific style, championed by the All Blacks, is also played by Australia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Japan used it when they shocked the Springboks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and Argentina flirt with using it. It is derided as “loose”, “festival” or “basketball” rugby by the Northerners.

Those who play this style love offloads, cut-out passes, goosesteps, wrap-around plays, fends that knock the fullbacks over, sudden and untelegraphed changes of attack direction, chipping and regathering, passing in front of the receiver, and perfectly-timed passes that allow the winger to skin the covering tackle on the outside.

Done poorly, the Pacific style can disintegrate into a shambles reminiscent of a scratch Barbarians game, in which the players are trying to force every pass and the opposition can win simply by waiting for opportunities to counterattack.

Done well, the Pacific style gives us blitzkrieg rugby.

Like the military blitzkrieg, successful use of this tactic is much more than just throwing the ball around and having big players who can run fast. It also requires a particularly high degree of co-ordination.

If there’s one way in which the All Blacks are always more effective than their opposition it is in their ability to support a line break. Almost every time an All Black breaks the line he has options for unloading.

This is a consequence of the fact that All Black players have usually played rugby since they were small children and have an intuitive ability to read the game that has been refined over more years than the other teams’ players.

In the same way that the Soviet Union stopped the Nazi blitzkrieg by successfully using multiple lines of defence, the Lions will have to accept and adapt to the fact that their first lines are going to get broken.

In other words, if the Lions are going to stop the blitzkrieg rugby of the All Blacks they are going to have to scramble like demons.

This will require a high degree of skill as the defenders will have to make correct decisions at extreme pace.

Usually these decisions involve which lines to run so as to shut down space in order to prevent the player making the line break from setting up an outside runner, as it is this aspect of the game where the All Blacks can devastate teams in very short order.

The blueprint for this ought to be the Irish win over the All Blacks in Chicago last year. The Irish defence retained its cohesion in that game despite the rapid manoeuvre attack of the All Blacks. If the Lions cannot at least equal the defensive cohesion of that Irish team, the All Blacks will cut them to shreds.

Furthermore, without a kicker near to the class of Dan Carter the Men in Black do not have a reliable Plan B. It’s blitzkrieg rugby or nothing – so the British and Irish can be expected to have an excellent game plan.

Rugby union is, and always has been, a game of skill.

The All Blacks will play to a gameplan which puts the skills of all 30 players under the highest possible stress at the highest possible tempo, because these circumstances give the decisive edge to the most skilled side, and they believe themselves to have the superior skills.

If the Lions are going to stop this blitzkrieg they are going to have to make intelligent decisions extremely quickly to an intelligent gameplan. The competitiveness of the series will hinge on their ability to do this.

Divide and Conquer in New Zealand

As the 2017 General Election draws nearer, the intensity of the propaganda is increasing from all sides. Even the Internet – once a technophile’s lodge of respite from politics – is now full of Gareth Morgan’s advertisements. In all the confusion, it’s easy to forget that the ruling class will win the election, as they have every other one.

The principles of iron are the same in all times and all places. Ultimately, if someone is capable of bringing more physical force to bear on your body than you can on theirs, they are your boss and you can only act freely at their pleasure.

It’s very easy to see how this operates in reality.

Iron can be used to make an axe, and the axe can divide the head of any person opposing the will of the wielder of that axe from that person’s body, rendering them incapable of resistance.

For the majority of the billion-year history of life on Earth, iron took the form of fangs and claws and teeth. Nowadays, that iron takes the form of handguns on the holsters of the loyal Police, but the principles are the same.

Everyone understands this – but few understand that the principles of silver operate in much the same fashion.

There is no need to divide someone’s body with iron if you can equally well render them incapable of resistance by dividing their mind – and this is done by silver.

More specifically, this is done by telling lies.

Take, for example, the lies that John Key told about GST to get elected – in particular, promising not to raise GST from its then 12.5%. This promise was made because it is known that consumption taxes disadvantage the poor relative to income taxes, and so the suckers in the middle were more likely to vote for Key.

When Key was duly elected and took power, one of the first moves was to raise GST to 15%. This had a particular effect on the electorate that was not noted at the time.

What this lie did was to cleave New Zealand, as if with a silver axe, into one group who profitted from the lie, and one group who suffered from it.

The group that profitted from it didn’t appear to really care much that the other half of the country had lost out from being lied to by their Prime Minister. After all, they ended up with the long-coveted income tax cuts.

The group that suffered from it found that, not only had they lost, but they had lost by being lied to, and they had lost from being lied to by their own Prime Minister. Worst of all, no conversation about the effects of these lies seemed possible.

The corporate media, beholden to Key and to the National Party for their news cycle, moved on to the next infotainment fad, and the subject was forgotten.

As Ben Vidgen points out in the foreword to the Second Edition of State Secrets, the corporate media has been lying to people forever, and will sneer things like “conspiracy theory” every time someone does actually speak the truth.

It can be predicted, without any great effort of foresight, that the corporate media will use this year’s General Election as an occasion to set the plebs against each other for profit.

It can also be predicted, with similar ease, that anyone who points out the grotesque nature of the charade that is the televised circus of psychopaths dumping their verbal excrement into your subconscious mind at 50Hz will not find appreciation among those same plebs.

As Vidgen told you in 1999 and as we’re telling you now, you’re surrounded by bullshit on all sides. With an election in three months’ time, the frequency and intensity of the bullshit pumped into the heads of every Kiwi through the mass media is about to sharply increase.

So much so that knowing which of the possible options represent a “genuine change” and which are just the usual lineup of pocket-lining, trough-guzzling criminals will become impossible in the noise and chaos.

We could tell you that we were going to provide an alternative, but then why would anyone with sense trust us?

The Only Reason to Still Oppose Medicinal Cannabis is Sadism

The New Zealand Parliament will soon get another chance to bring our cannabis laws into the 21st century, with Julie Anne Genter’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill drawn from the Member’s Bill Ballot this week. This ought to herald the long-awaited national conversation on the subject.

The Bill allows for any Kiwi suffering from “any debilitating condition” to use cannabis or a cannabis product if they have approval from a doctor. It also allows for such patients to cultivate cannabis themselves or to nominate someone to do it for them.

This latter point is extremely important and often underappreciated. One of Peter Dunne’s strategies to keep cannabis illegal by boondoggle has been to restrict supply to extremely expensive overseas sources, such as Sativex (which costs over $1,000 per month), instead of simply allowing people who need it to cultivate it themselves. This Bill would remove this deliberately-placed hurdle.

As Genter points out, the decision to make cannabis illegal was not based on evidence in the first place. Doctors in the 1930s were prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients in New Zealand, as they were all across the world.

The decision to stop doctors from prescribing cannabis was pushed on us by moronic do-gooders forcing their Puritan ideology on the rest of the world.

There was never any science involved, nor any common sense, foresight, empathy, compassion or concern for good order.

From the beginning, cannabis prohibition was based on nothing but a sadistic need to control the masses through causing them suffering, and on the gullibility of legions of morons willing to bleat whatever they heard from an authority figure as if it was the Word of God.

For a person to still not know that cannabis is medicinal they have to be willfully stupid.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party first stood in a General Election in 1996. Already in 1996 the party platform had the need for medicinal cannabis as one of its core tenets.

In 1996 it got 1.66% of the vote, so even twenty years ago it was true that one in sixty Kiwis considered cannabis law reform a major issue. After all, California legalised medicinal cannabis that year, so the medicinal properties of cannabis were already known and accepted by experts even then.

Since then, twenty-eight US states have made medicinal cannabis legal and eight have made recreational cannabis legal – and none of them have gone back to prohibition after making the change.

So to deny that cannabis law reform is inevitable is like denying that a heavyweight boxer who has won forty consecutive knockout victories is a title contender.

For a person to continue to believe that the prohibition of medicinal cannabis helps New Zealanders, they have to possess a willful ignorance that borders on malice.

They would have to continue to ignore all the stories from hundreds of medicinal cannabis users, over twenty years, in which they detailed the reduction in suffering that cannabis gave them.

They would have to think nothing of the fact that supporters of medicinal cannabis are winning a victory every month either in New Zealand or in another Western jurisdiction.

They would have to believe that it was fair that any of Martin Crowe, Paul Holmes and Helen Kelly could have been prosecuted and sent to prison for using medicinal cannabis to alleviate pain caused from dying of cancer.

And a person cannot think like that unless they purposefully deny reality for the sake of bringing cruelty into the world.

When the debate about medicinal cannabis does, finally, after over twenty years of campaigning, happen in Parliament, the MPs who oppose it will mark themselves out as particularly sadistic old dinosaurs who need getting rid of.

Black Caps vs. Bangladesh, Champions Trophy Pool Match Preview

Mustafizur Rahman, with a strike rate of 22.7 in ODIs, would fancy himself against the Black Caps middle order if he gets a chance against them in tonight’s do-or-die encounter in Cardiff

This Champions Trophy has been one of upsets. The Black Caps got themselves into a position of control before the rain set in against the slightly favoured world champion Australia side, then Pakistan defeated the moderately favoured South Africa side, and last night Sri Lanka defeated the massively favoured India side.

An even worse omen for the Black Caps is the fact that they lost their previous encounter with Bangladesh in the Ireland tri-series a few short weeks ago.

This will give the Bangladeshis confidence before their crucial Group A encounter with the Black Caps in Cardiff tonight. They will, however, have to contend with facing a very different Black Caps side to the one they beat in Dublin.

Most notably, the Black Caps will now have the presence of all of their four genuinely world-class players, with Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, all of whom missed the Ireland tri-series for IPL duty, rejoining Ross Taylor in the side.

This explains why the Black Caps are still the favourites to win the encounter on BetFair. They are only paying $1.33 compared to Bangladesh’s $3.90, making them heavy favourites.

Martin Guptill has looked very good in his two starts this tournament, but has been unable to go on and play a punishing innings. With Luke Ronchi likely to continue partnering him at the top, Bangladesh will be forced to take early wickets or risk getting hit out of the game.

With Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor completing the top order, the most likely outcome of the match appears to be the Black Caps top four batting the Bangladeshi bowlers – a class weaker than the English and Australian batteries – out of the game.

If they don’t, Bangladesh will feel confident of rolling the rest of the order. The Black Caps lost 7 for 37 against Australia and 8 for 65 against England, and Bangladesh know that if they can get Williamson in early and then out early, they will be in a very strong position.

The Black Caps might be tempted to fiddle with their middle order a bit, knowing that this has been their soft underbelly for a long time.

Neil Broom’s returns have been poor this tournament – only 11 and 14 – but he has averaged 43.53 since coming back into the Black Caps side last December. His position should be okay for now.

The real question is how to fit both of Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson in the team. It may be that one of them comes out for Colin de Grandhomme, who has shown the ability to come to the crease and start hitting straight away.

It may also necessary to drop Mitchell Santner below Adam Milne in the batting order, as Santner has had great struggles with the bat recently.

Another option is bringing Latham in to open and moving Ronchi back down the order.

Bangladesh may find it much more difficult to chase down scores like 271, as they managed to do in Dublin, because they will have to do it against Boult, Tim Southee and Adam Milne.

However, their batting down to 7 is much stronger than it has ever previously been in Bangladesh cricket history.

Tamim Iqbal is their strongest bat on recent form. In 30 matches since the last Cricket World Cup he averages 59.53 with the bat, and has scored over 200 runs in two innings so far this tournament.

Around him there are a number of very talented batsmen, in particular Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim and the allrounder Shakib al Hasan.

If they can keep Boult, Milne and Southee out with the new ball, as England managed to do, then it will be possible for them to milk a plethora of runs in the middle stages.

A major danger for Bangladesh is that if they fail to bowl New Zealand out, they may lack the hitting power to match them across 50 overs. Despite the talent in the Bangladeshi side it’s hard to see them chasing 300 or more, even in the most favourable circumstances.

All of this could be moot in the very real circumstances of rain, as a washout would see the Black Caps eliminated and Bangladesh with only a mathematical chance of progress.

For the winner, however, an Australian loss in their matchup against the bookies’ favourites England, or a washout in the same encounter, would see them progress to the semi-finals.

Considering the chaos in the other group, there’s every chance that they would then play a relatively soft team like Pakistan or Sri Lanka in the semifinal.

So there’s all to play for tonight.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Flag Referendum Voters

Given what is already known about the demographics of the various party voters, we can tell a lot about who supported the flag referendum just by looking at the correlations between voting for a given party and one of three other major variables.

The first major variable is the turnout rate in the first flag referendum.

The correlation between turnout rate in this first referendum and voting National was a very strong 0.86. That is enough by itself to suggest that the bulk of the people who did end up voting in it were National supporters.

The correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and voting National was, however, 0.76, so we can see that the people who voted in the first flag referendum were mostly those who are generally inclined to vote whenever they can. This was also true for Conservative Party supporters, who had a correlation of 0.70 with turnout rate in the first flag referendum.

Green, ACT and New Zealand First voters were only mildly interested. The correlation between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and voting Green was 0.07, with voting ACT it was -0.01 and with voting New Zealand First it was -0.21. None of these were significant.

Labour Party voters were almost entirely indifferent to the whole idea. The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and turnout rate in the first flag referendum was a very strong -0.84.

This was something broadly shared by all of the Maori-heavy parties. The correlation between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and voting for both the Maori Party and Internet MANA was -0.67, and with voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was -0.55.

Predictably, given these statistics, it was mostly Kiwis of European descent who were interested in the first referendum. The correlation between being of European descent and turnout rate in the first flag referendum was 0.85.

The correlation between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and being either Maori or a Pacific Islander was -0.65, and with being Asian it was -0.27.

Perhaps the most striking correlation of all is that between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and turnout rate in 2014 – this was an extremely strong 0.90. Those who like to vote tend to take every opportunity they can to actually do it.

There was also a correlation of 0.89 between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and median age.

The correlations between wealth and turnout rate were significant, but only marginally so.

All of the income bands above $70K were significantly positively correlated with turnout rate in the first flag referendum, but only marginally so – the strongest of them was 0.31. None of the income bands below $70K had a significant positive correlation with turnout rate in the first flag referendum.

By contrast, all of the income bands below $10K had a correlation of -0.50 or more strongly negative, the strongest of all being for those who had a negative income. The correlation between being in this income bracket and turnout rate in the first flag referendum was -0.84.

Likewise, the correlations between education and turnout rate bordered on statistical significance.

Although there were significant positive correlations between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and having either an Honours degree (0.25) or having a doctorate (0.27), this was true for neither a Bachelor’s nor a Master’s degree (both 0.13).

Mirroring this, the correlation between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and having no academic qualifications was not especially strong, at -0.28.

One of the strongest correlations of all was between turnout rate in the first flag referendum and living on freehold land: this was 0.87.

All of this gives us a clear picture. The sort of person who turned out to vote in the first flag referendum was the same sort of person who is most heavily involved in running the country: rich, old, white and National voting with leisure time.

The second major variable is the turnout rate in the second flag referendum. Here it is only really meaningful to speak of the differences in voting pattern to the first flag referendum.

Although the second flag referendum was still mostly a vehicle for Kiwis of European descent (the correlation between the two demographics strengthened from 0.85 to 0.88), the people who turned out for it tended to be more Maori. The correlation between turnout rate in the second flag referendum and being Maori came in to -0.57 from -0.65.

Against this, turnout rate for the second flag referendum faded among Pacific Islanders and Asians. This may have been because the further the process wound on, the more likely the least established Kiwis were to drop out of it.

People who voted Green were also less likely to turn out in the second flag referendum. The correlation between the two fell to 0.02 from the 0.07 of the first flag referendum. This was probably because the correlation between being in the 20-29 age bracket and turnout rate fell from the -0.41 of the first flag referendum to the -0.50 of the second.

All of this reflected the fact that the second flag referedum saw a considerably higher turnout rate among those who did not want to change the flag. The correlation with voting to change the flag fell from 0.86 for the first flag referendum to 0.80 for the second.

The third major factor is the percentage of people who voted to change the flag.

These people were almost all National voters. The correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting to change the flag in the second flag referendum was a whopping 0.95. This is an extremely strong correlation, and it tells us that basically the only people to even vote to change the flag were died-in-the-wool National voters.

Maoris really didn’t want to change the flag – the correlation between the two was -0.77. These numbers suggest that there was a small core of Maoris who knew from the beginning of the process that they didn’t want to change the flag, but who waited until the second flag referendum to voice their disapproval.

Asians were a curiosity, because they had a negative correlation with turnout rate in either referendum, but a slightly positive correlation of 0.11 with voting to change the flag.

Some will find it very curious that the old were much more likely to vote for change than the young, which goes against the usual pattern of the old being more conservative.

The correlation between being aged 65+ and voting to change the flag was a very strong 0.62, which is amazing if one considers that one of the arguments for keeping the flag in the first place was that old people had become accustomed to it over many years of living under it.

For their part, the young preferred to keep the flag. The correlation between being in the 15-19 age bracket and voting to change the flag was -0.53.

Some might find these latter points extremely interesting, because they support anecdotal evidence from overseas suggesting that the generation to follow the Millenials – those who some have dubbed Generation Z – are more conservative than their immediate predecessors.

This question will be revisited in the second edition of this book, to be written after the 2017 General Election!

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Black Caps vs. England, Champions Trophy Pool Match Preview

The Black Caps demolished England the last time these two sides met in a major competition, with Tim Southee taking 7/33. The England team of today, however, is an entirely different beast

The washout against Australia a few nights ago gave Black Caps fans a lesson in expectation akin to being given a lesson in orgasm denial from a professional dominatrix. With Australia reduced to 53/3 in the tenth over of their chase, all signs were pointing towards an opening round upset as shocking as the Black Caps’ win over Australia in the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Instead, the rain came in to deny us a fair finish to the contest. So the Black Caps will be champing at the bit to have a go at England tonight (9:30 p.m. NZT) in Cardiff, in a match that they almost have to win in order to advance to the semifinals.

The English side has been heralded as prospective champions from all corners, and this is reflected in the short odds offered on BetFair for England to win this contest: $1.52, compared to $2.90 for the Black Caps.

Looking at the achievements of the England batting unit it’s not hard to see why.

Joe Root looks unstoppable at the moment, with an ODI batting average of 49.68 and just coming off 133* against Bangladesh. Around him are three batsmen who are ranked just behind Ross Taylor on the ODI charts right now: Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.

All of these batsmen, including Root, are capable of batting at a very fast clip, and so are opener Jason Roy and allrounder Ben Stokes.

So the Black Caps will go into the match knowing that a failure to take early wickets will likely leave them chasing a gigantic score. They need to at least get Joe Root out early if they want to have a real chance of bowling England out.

But if English batting stocks are strong, the bowling stocks are another question.

Chris Woakes has been ruled out of this match through injury and Ben Stokes may not be able to bowl his full quota of 10 overs on account of a minor knee injury.

On top of this, Jake Ball has been very expensive in recent games and neither David Willey, Mark Wood nor Steven Finn have shown a particular talent for taking wickets. This means that Liam Plunkett – at 16th – is likely to be the highest-ranked English bowler on display.

The weak English bowling is where, if anywhere, the match is most likely to be decided. They will have to get Kane Williamson and Taylor out cheapish, and avoid being hit out of the game by Martin Guptill or Luke Ronchi at the top, to have any realistic chance of winning.

If they can, then they will be into the currently misfiring Black Caps middle order. The Black Caps lost 7 for 37 at the end of their innings against Australia, mostly thanks to their middle order finding Australian fielders with most of their lofted shots.

The New Zealand middle order had already been identified as a point of weakness before this tournament, so the English bowlers should feel confident of restricting the Black Caps to a small total if they can get into it before the death overs.

However, if they can’t, then they will not be able to defend anything less than 350, because otherwise the Black Caps will hit them out of the game.

Adam Milne was extremely impressive against Australia, despite only bowling a few overs. This will make him, alongside Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner, the likely choices for bowlers.

They will be partnered by either Tim Southee or Jeetan Patel, depending on which of the two appear best suited for the conditions, and a combination of Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham as the fifth bowler.

All of Milne, Boult and Santner are more impressive than any bowler England is fielding – for reasons of pace, skill and economy respectively – so it is most likely to be here that the Black Caps win the match.

The Government Giveth; The Government Taketh Away

There was some excitement in the New Zealand cannabis community this week after the news that the Government would remove restrictions on doctors who wanted to prescribe cannabidiol (CBD) in the form of an oil. It was the first admission from the Government, ever, that cannabis actually had medicinal value, and for this reason it was significant.

Those of us who are not enamoured of politicians are naturally eager to point out that, after twenty years of sick Kiwis being completely ignored when it came to the cannabis question, progress is only now being made in the foreshadow of a general election.

Neither are we surprised to see hordes of Green Party hacks swarm the battlefields of social media to play down the magnitude of this change. The consensus tactic appears to be describing the changes as “not medicinal cannabis”, despite the fact that CBD is the component of cannabis that has shown by far the greatest medicinal promise.

After all, it’s important for the Green Party – now that the will of Kiwis for some cannabis law reform is undeniably clear – to craft a narrative of having been at the forefront of cannabis law reform all along.

Politicians being what they are, the Greens will deny at all costs the truth: that they sucked up cannabis law reform votes from 1999 and gave back nothing but contempt, until a few months before Peter Dunne (of all people) changed the law himself, without Green Party input.

All of this shitfighting distracts, and is intended to distract, from the fact that if the Greens do get into Government and change the cannabis laws to something intelligent and reasonable, they will, at the same time, make some other aspect of legislation stupid and unreasonable – and this is the necessary flipside of the deal.

The Government giveth; the Government taketh away. This is the nature of politics. The Government never simply gives freedoms back to the people it manages.

We are losing rights now, and will continue to lose them into the future, because the Government and all parties running for Government are in agreement about taking away our rights to use tobacco.

Many people have been able to predict that we will get legal cannabis at the same time as we lose legal tobacco. The rhetoric from the Government is for a “Smokefree New Zealand” by 2025, and we know that they will pursue this futile goal (previously described by this column as a sadistic idea dreamed up by morons) with the same mindless zealotry that they did the goal of making New Zealand cannabis-free.

And it will be equally as futile. Tobacco may be less fun to smoke than cannabis, but people still do it – not because they are “addicted”, as our moronic mental health establishment would have it, but because tobacco has a strong medicinal effect to people suffering from a wide range of mental problems, in particular psychosis and/or excess anxiety brought about from complications of trauma.

Statists and control freaks everywhere are mewling: “But we used to think tobacco was medicinal, but now science has advanced and now we know better.”

But this was exactly what they said when they made cannabis illegal.

Cannabis has been widely used by humans for centuries, and the propaganda against it early this century was all based on a two-pronged attack: first, deny any and all benefits of the substance, no matter how obvious; and second, attribute any and all detriments to the substance, no matter how peripherally related.

And so, in much the same way that we just had nearly a century of hearing that cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia and brain tumours and amotivational syndrome and blah blah blah, and how all of the positive effects that people had noticed from cannabis use were really just delusions brought about by the psychotogenic effects of the plant, now we’re going to hear all the same rubbish about tobacco.

Mental health patients will continue to tell politicians and doctors that tobacco use significantly alleviates their suffering, as it has done for mentally ill people for centuries, and they will increasingly be ignored as the devotion to the righteousness of the crusade against tobacco overrides all logic and reason.

We’re sure we banned the right thing this time!

Of course, at some point in the future we’ll get legal tobacco back, because the suppressed mental health benefits of its use will at some point be rediscovered, and then another campaign of spending decades trying to talk basic commonsense to goat-stubborn morons and brainwashed doctors will begin.

And when that process ends, we will lose legal alcohol, probably on the grounds that it causes too much violence and brain damage. At this point, the massive social and emotional benefits of alcohol will be suppressed and forgotten.

The Government giveth; the Government taketh away.