gpt-2 tuned in to AI Mike Hosking

March 30, 2019

Using Google’s CoLab [https://colab.research.google.com] I’ve fine tuned the gpt-2 117 model with an extract of text from a kiwi radio host, Mike Hosking

I chose Mike not because I ever agree with his opinion, ‘cos he has a distinct writing style.

Here’s a link to my GitHub with the files: https://github.com/AmbiguousError/gpt-2

CoLab is symbiotic with Google Drive, and during the fine tune process a large data set that has been generated from the model. I required a way to easily move data from Google Drive and found ocamlfuse very useful.

This allowed me to copy files from a Google Drive file mounted as a directory, and then as I want to make the gpt-2 checkpoints available online, I’m uploading them to MEGA.co.nz.

I found this well written article by @Gwern really useful and insightful: GPT-2 Neural Network Poetry.

I’ve picked up heaps from this piece,

  • use byte-pair encoding on the text that is been used for fine tuning
  • runtime, temperature: nshepperd has 1 as default, others prefer 0.7 for GPT-2 prose sampling
  • train time, learning rate (LR): TensorFlow default of 0.001
  • editing line 136 of train.py to read tf.train.AdamOptimizer(learning_rate=0.001*0.10))
  • eventually decaying it again (to 0.001*0.0001) to get it down to a loss of ~1.95. (nshepperd has since added a –learning_rate option so manual editing of the source is no longer necessary.)

Other inspiration I took from Gwern is the source of the fine tuning content. I may attempt to replicate his poetry model in CoLab as a way of learning, and then I have a couple of ideas that I would like to try, potentially songs 🙂

shared model samples

Here’s a list of 10 ‘articles’ the gpt-2 model ran after fine tuning it with Hosking articles, see what you think of the ai generated prose compared to coming from the man himself 🙂

======================================== SAMPLE 1 ========================================

All of which he is of course entitled to, but is this research a balanced piece of work designed to find answers?

“After initial resistance most people appreciate bike lanes..”

Really? How many out of how many asked? What percentage? Is there any proof of any of this? And if we all love them so much why is he studying bikelash? Why, if we’ve all got used to them does bikelash even exist?

Does anyone ask any questions any more? Or are we happy to just all roll over and accept research as fact?

You heard of greenwashing? This sounds like cyclewashing.

To the entitled little snots who walked out of Fraser High School

“F*** you Mrs Crawford”. Mrs Crawford’s speech on truancy, and what sort of person you become, appears to have been a little late if the graffiti around Fraser High in Hamilton is a good indication of the quality of the attendees.

F*** up Mrs Crawford is sadly what Mrs Crawford was worried about. A group of young punks who have no respect for establishment, for elders, for adults, for themselves, for advice.

It’s always a little hard to judge the fine detail of these things when you’re not there. But my assumption was she wasn’t being literal.

If you bunk off, you’re not literally going to end up in the various predicaments she suggested you might. And even if you did end up in some of those predicaments, truancy alone would not have been the sole reason for it.

The point I am assuming Mrs Crawford was making was that truancy is connected to a certain type of thinking and behaviour. It’s connected to an outlook and attitude.

It’s representative of nothing particularly productive. And if that attitude and outlook pervades your general thinking, it becomes habit.

And when it becomes habit, other aspects of your life and outlook slip as well. And cumulatively things don’t tend to go well from there.

It’s the same speech we’ve all received at one point or another from our teachers, our principals, our career guidance adviser, our parents. Work hard, do good, try your best, respect your elders.

Be basically a decent, go-ahead sort of person. Except in this day and age it’s recorded, it’s put on the net. Cue a bit of outrage, cue a bit of self-entitlement, cue a bit of literal misunderstanding, cue a bit of poorly placed self-importance – and you’re off and running with reaction 2018 styles.

No wonder teachers find life so tough. It’s not the money or the hours or the paperwork, it’s the little snots in the classroom.

Somewhere along the way, and you will find a lot of the answers at their homes, kids have decided they’re important. You might even find some of the answers in the classroom – we live in an age where everyone needs to be heard.

We all have a voice and a point and a plight and rights. So that leads to placards and marches and protests, and in this case walkouts.

And sadly, instead of all being lined up and sent to detention and threatened with suspension, they will be seen by some (sadly the wrong sort of people) as some sort of modern day heroes.

I assume what keeps Mrs Crawford coming back is the hope that although 100 students didn’t hear her, many more did. And that the majority are decent, the majority want to do the right thing, the majority don’t bunk – and Mrs Crawford’s voice isn’t wasted.

Labour law reforms making business jittery

As we head towards the end of the year, we can start to join a few dots as to why things are politically the way they are.

Why despite the economy, business confidence has remained so abysmally low.

How do you explain 3.9 per cent unemployment against the backdrop that business thinks the world is going to end?

What is it they are seeing the rest of us aren’t?

Labour law reform is the answer: most of what they feared is about to come true. Yes it is watered down, but not a lot.

New Zealand First can be thanked for providing some common sense, but you have to wonder if they shouldn’t have, couldn’t have, gone a bit further.

There is no hiding the simple truth this Government is pro-union, Labour especially, and there is no hiding that the labour law reforms boost the power and presence in the workplace of the union movement.

Most of us see unions for what they are, opportunists with a tired old act.

In Victorian England when the 9-year-olds were up the chimneys or down the mines they needed collective protection.

Fast forward 150 years and some of those at ======================================== SAMPLE 2 ======================================== The problem with the Taylors of this world is two-fold: one, he’s nuts and two, he’s not alone. This is a real and present danger to this country and indeed all countries who find themselves in similar circumstances. And in this country in particular whose justice system seems ill-equipped to deal with some operators.

Most will already have concluded that the number of people who get let out prematurely is too high. The recidivism rate is too high, the system, as it stands, around bracelets and monitoring doesn’t work well enough.

And that’s before you get to the simple reality that this is a Government that is keen to have more people out of jail, as opposed to in it. Justice Minister Andrew Little is on record saying jail doesn’t work, his specific policy is to kill three strikes, he’s not hardline, and he’s backed up in that by his leader.

So, armed with all of that fact-based information, does it fill us with confidence that the world’s jihadists, a few of which have come from New Zealand, are now on the move back to their homelands having been vanquished in their efforts to destroy the West?

If you are not worried you should be. And having Peters pretend this isn’t interesting, or doesn’t matter doesn’t help.

We owe this guy Taylor nothing, and yet we have a Prime Minister dancing on the head of a pin, playing secret squirrel on any plans they may or may not have on how to protect us, and deal with what is going to be an ongoing issue all over the world.

Government stance and approach is everything. Look at America, look at Britain, intent counts. This Government’s intent so far is a mix of non-plussed naivety and smokescreen-based verbiage.

All of which leaves us wondering if they have a clue.

Game over – don’t waste any more money on fixing up Eden Park

Surely it can’t just be me that sees the absolute absurdity of Eden Park and its financial woes.

For those in Auckland it’s a city-wide disgrace that we should all be embarrassed about. For those outside of Auckland we can laugh because it’s just another example of dysfunction that sits along side things like traffic congestion and house prices.

Eden Park needs $100 million, some for loans, some for maintenance. Eden Park is in a world of fiscal trouble because you’ve never seen such a major facility so hamstrung and hobbled from actually doing what it was supposed to do.

Just a week ago Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin announced it had its best year ever – more than twice the population of Dunedin had gone to it. The venue has racked up millions in revenue – and the forecast is nothing but upbeat.

Wellington’s downtown facility is widely praised, used and supported. On a side note, if I was Westpac I wouldn’t have walked away from the sponsorship last week. Loyalty and longevity are valuable assets, and being there from the start is worth its weight in gold, I would have thought. But it’s their money I guess.

Anyway, stadiums can, and are, done well – unless you’re Auckland.

Too many people hate Eden Park, and too many other people want to whine about Eden Park. Michael Chugg, who’s Elton John’s promoter and a legend in the game, pretty much called it as it is last week. He thinks the place is a joke, you can’t get access, the rules are ridiculous, the costs even more so.

India didn’t play cricket there because the lights would be on too late, under normal circumstances you couldn’t make this stuff up. The biggest side in the world in a city with a large Indian population – why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?

One of the biggest acts in the world on a farewell tour is made for Eden Park, but no, let’s send it elsewhere.

Sir Ray Avery wants a charity event there, but has a $700,000 bill simply for the paperwork, once the wowsers wound up the letter-writing campaign.

So the upside of all this is it’s not like it’s tricky to work out why it’s in the mess it’s in. A stadium actually needs to pay its way. So either one of a couple of things happen, you either start using it properly, or you don’t.

And it seems patently obvious that if you’re not going to, if you insist on continuing with all the wacky rules, then it will simply go bust.

You either increase revenue or you don’t, upside is they can. Do they want to? I don’t think so. So close it down, bowl it, and get Phil Twyford and his hammer in.

Now I know all the purists will be outraged. The history, ======================================== SAMPLE 3 ========================================

This is why we have seen so much industrial action this year; the Labour party is their ticket to a re-emergence.

The worst of the changes are the pan-industry agreements, the ability of a union to cut a deal across an entire industry and in doing so remove the individual employer’s ability to fund, run and decide the direction of their own business.

This was quite rightly the business community’s greatest fear.

If you’re a forestry worker, the unions decide your pay, not your employer.

And if you’re an employer, what you can afford becomes irrelevant, as the decision is taken out of your hands.

If there are too many of these agreements, and they affect too many industries, and the industrial action becomes too common, too aggressive, too disruptive, then it’s at this point the Government might start to wish they’d never gone down this track. Because that’s the great sadness of all of this – we have been down this track before, and we didn’t like it.

We got rid of it because it became farcical, we thought this particular approach to industrial relations went out with the likes of Jim Knox, Ken Douglas and Pat Kelly.

But back to the dots. Labour might like to ask itself why National, despite Simon, is on 46 per cent.

Then Labour might like to look at its agenda, Michael Cullen about to deliver the details of a new capital gains tax. A KiwiBuild programme that is suffering severe reputational and fiscal issues. A budget that just last week it was revealed was badly overspent.

An ongoing series of strikes and stop works driven by demands for increases so large many are laughable. A sense that ineptness, bad decision-making and poor governance isn’t dealt to (Iain Lees-Galloway I am looking at you).

And now an industrial upheaval from a failed bygone era.

That is an anathema to most ordinary new Zealanders who’ve relished a decade of economic prosperity built on hard work, return on hard work, and an industrial freedom to be judged on your abilities, not a collective sop to cover the backsides of the weakest link.

A solid inherited economy is really all that’s saved the Government this year.

But if they care to join the dots they will see increasingly clearly, that the polls are softening, the storm clouds are looming and the industrial reforms feared by so many might just turn out to be their biggest mistake.

Globetrotting Greens co-leader James Shaw is full of hot air

I read with interest over the weekend that the latest venture into virtue signalling is to stop flying in 2019. No more planes, no more trips, no more destinations.

It’s one thing to give up a plastic bag, does it change the world? No, but it might make you feel a bit better about yourself. Maybe you want to not drink in January, or July, or whatever month it is that the earnest gather in.

But not to fly? For as long as the human race has existed we have wanted to explore, to discover, and nothing has enabled us to do that more with speed and comparative cheapness than the plane. The plane has revolutionised travel, it has shrunk the world, and made the planet more accessible than we ever might have imagined just a few short decades ago.

And the next step is one stop destinations, anywhere to anywhere in one go. And beyond that we have space, commercial flights to the moon, to who knows where.

But let’s not bother with any of that, let’s just stay here, jump on a bike, go to a freedom camping ground, pitch a tent, and compost our own rubbish. If any reasonable number of us did any of this, we’d cripple the airline industry headed, of course in this country, by our national carrier. And we all have a stake in that.

And the people peddling this nonsense are the climate change brigade, the alarmists who, for at least a couple of decades now, have told us we are on the edge of a precipice, the point of no return,and unless we act now, or as it was 20 years ago, then the Earth as we know is over.

Except, of course, it isn’t, hasn’t and most likely probably won’t be. This is not to deny some sort of climate change is going on, but it is to, at least in some small way, call out the alarmists who as each month, year, and decade go by seem more and more wrong.

And as the message fails to maintain its urgency or presence in our minds, if it ever did, they need to come up with more weird and wonderful ideas to attract our attention, and further enhance and progress their agenda.

Which brings us to James Shaw, the co-leader ======================================== SAMPLE 4 ======================================== And if you remember, it was an early call from a new government. No consultation, no input, none of the open, honest transparency that they made such as big deal of defining themselves with.

And what did we say at the time? We said companies would pack up and leave.

‘No they won’t,’ said the Government. The claim was the licences don’t end for years. They said that, of course, not understanding how business works. Business want support and certainty, they want to know whether to renew deals, they want to know whether to, as the industry calls it, drop or drill.

They dropped. They’re leaving, and the report tells us now the impact of that is nearly $30 billion. The Government’s only defence is the usual, blind virtue-signally bollocks about working with the region on new ideas, on job opportunities, and renewable options.

Well, what are they? Where are they? How many do they employ? How much are they worth? You will note there is no detail. Do you know why? Because there are no jobs, no business, and no ideas.

They’re full of it. Like it or not, the world runs on fossil fuels. Maybe it won’t one day, but right now it does. But the Government doesn’t like it, hence they acted the way they did.

Australia knows it, their biggest receipts last year came from stuff in the ground. That’s why they rolled Malcolm Turnbull, he kept banging on about Paris and climate. And all they want is a surplus, work, and money in the bank. Dare I suggest Taranaki, and every other region affected by this, does to?

And this is where the credibility of this Government is being so badly undermined in the facts.

Once they spout the theory, utter the grandiose promises, and headlines, reality hits. If they had an idea around renewables to cover a $30b gap do you think we might have heard about it now?

Decimating a region for ideological reasons – while spouting hot air about the solutions to the hole you’ve just dug – is dishonest, deceptive, and economically ruinous.

Employment Relations Authority awarding $9000 to cafe worker on trial is ridiculous

Is the Employment Relations Authority out of touch – and more dangerously – out of control?

A woman goes to a cafe for a job. They like her, she likes them. She works for a day, the day is unpaid, it’s an unpaid trial.

The matter ends up in front of the authority, which decides the penalty is $9000 – plus bits and pieces to make up for what they have clearly decided is a day in the woman’s life that has been irreparably shattered. The cafe has now gone to the social media pages to raise money.

Now we must accept that there will be subtlety and nuance, as there is in any case like this, a bit of he said, she said.

But upon reading as much detail as I can, it strikes me that we have a pretty basic case of misunderstanding. Clearly the woman didn’t know she was working unpaid, given her upset, and when she found out she was angry. Clearly she didn’t ask, which I would have thought was her fault.

“As I undertake this trial, what rate am I being paid?” – surely that’s a question you would expect to be asked. Can you lay blame at the cafe’s door? Sure. Could they, should they, have said “by the way, you realise this is unpaid?”

So with both parties potentially at fault, we have misunderstanding, a miscommunication. How that gets to be a $9000 fine is the real crime.

Further complicating this, is this is not your classic dismissal case. It’s not like the worker was useless and they were looking to shift her. She, according to reports, was good, and the employers liked her.

So once again, surely on the surface, this is an example of a conflict that wasn’t particularly egregious, outlandish, or not entirely repairable.

Now, when it landed in front of the ERA, did they ask the questions I am? Did they not see this wasn’t the crime of the century? Did they not see that all that had really happened was, through a lack of communication, the woman had done a small number of hours free of charge?

She had not been abused or been treated as a slave, she hadn’t been treated this way over and over again. This wasn’t an underground visa, or family rort, scenario where rip offs had been regular, overt and ongoing.

This was a one-day trial, that hadn’t worked out. How does that lead to a $9000 fine? Should the woman have been paid? Yes. Was there perhaps an apology owed? Maybe ======================================== SAMPLE 5 ======================================== It would seem patently obvious that if you’re not going to do something, if you’re not going to, if you insist on continuing with all the wacky rules, then it will simply go bust.

You either increase revenue or you don’t, upside is they can. Do they want to? I don’t think so. So close it down, bowl it, and get Phil Twyford and his hammer in.

Now I know all the purists will be outraged. The history, the memories, the investment already made, yes, yes, yes, I agree. But the place is hobbled, deliberately hobbled, by the haters. And unless that stops, the game is over.

Is it going to stop? I can’t see it.

This is called facing reality, either stare down the enemy and get on with it, or don’t.

But $100 million is way too much for a place that shouldn’t be in the hole in the first place.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s numbers spare the Government’s blushes

If it wasn’t for Grant Robertson this Government would look like more of a mess than it already does.

The Finance Minister’s fiscal update yesterday reminds us that overall this economy of ours (and let’s be frank, the economy is just about everything) is still looking pretty good and the books look to be in pretty good shape.

The key points are the surplus is rising, it’ll be over $8 billion by the early 2020s. Our debt, and that’s the most important figure of all, will be down to 17 per cent of GDP – which in any one’s language is an outstanding number and can, and probably will, provide resilience through tough times.

Our growth rate is expected to bump along at 3 per cent, once again a pretty solid, if not spectacular, figure.

And it is Robertson, not unlike Bill English did, who has quietly got along with the business of keeping things running while too much around him is a mess. Between the Karel Sroubek residency saga, KiwiBuild, dumped ministers Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri, the free fees revelation this week, not to mention the tsunami of working groups, too much of this Government is a mess.

To be fair, the Greens have kept their powder dry, New Zealand First has been pretty solid and in some cases the mature one in the gang. But given it’s a co-lab, what the biggest party does, and how it behaves, reflects indirectly on them all.

The fact that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is still explaining Sroubek, in a story that’s now into at least its eighth week, is a classic example of what a shambles they are. Even if they’d never promised to be the most open and honest and transparent government we had ever seen, even if they had not promised any of that, they’d still look dodgy.

But the fact they did make the promise makes them look shifty as hell. The opportunity to front-foot stuff, that may in fact mean little, if anything, has been consistently waved in favour or having it dragged out weeks later with the ensuing carnage that goes with it.

KiwiBuild is a mess with more bad headlines than good. It’s a massive project with a massive reputational question mark over it.

And the free fees designed to boost student numbers – it didn’t. No one turned up and all that has happened is those who bail early stick us with the bill, thus missing the classic life lesson of the harder you work for something, the more it means.

I said earlier this year I couldn’t work out whether this lot are naive or Machiavellian, I still can’t. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

But as I also said at this stage of the political cycle, one, not many are gripped about who they’re voting for and two, economies and their performance are the vote shifters, not a bunch of small rats and mice, like scandals that more often than not fascinate the press gallery and few others.

So here’s to Grant Robertson who, although to be honest he’s in charge of an inherited success, at least to this point despite all the clowns around him, has still managed to hold the greatest political jewel intact.

The numbers, they’re good, and numbers don’t lie.

Seize the day Simon Bridges, get rid of your enemies

I am not the first person to have observed the political year has gotten off to a splendid start for the leader of the Opposition, notwithstanding the MediaWorks poll which (if it proves more than a rogue result) might dent proceedings slightly.

Simon Bridges will be and should be feeling a bit better in 2019 than he did in 2018. His prosperous start came from his state of the nation speech and the ======================================== SAMPLE 6 ======================================== What do you think he’ll say when he hung out with the gangs, imported the drugs, and ended up in jail, did Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway think that deserved residency?

And we came to all that information early – in fact it was weeks ago. We were faster than the Government. We had all the facts and we concluded there was nothing here to see, there was no magic bullet.

This “absolute discretion” was absolute bollocks.

And then it got worse – Lees-Galloway hadn’t read the file properly, he hadn’t asked for legal advice, he’d taken at best 45 minutes to make the call. He had painted himself well and truly to be inept and incompetent.

But still I said, I was more than prepared for the rabbit in the hat. It looked like incompetence, it looked like a political nightmare, Lees-Galloway looked out of his depth, but if he pulls that rabbit where it all makes sense then fair enough.

There was no rabbit, there wasn’t even a hat, it wasn’t even a trick. It was just laziness and arrogance by a buffoon who wouldn’t accept his work and carry the can for it.

Lees-Galloway put weight on a plea from Sroubek’s wife, who turned out to be estranged. He didn’t know Sroubek had travelled back to the Czech Republic.

But who cares? By placing too much weight on a bogus fear for his life, whether he travelled, didn’t make any difference anyway.

All that nonsense about him being no real threat, about being a decent bloke reformed, so what? He lied to get here, then peddled drugs, and is in prison. That prevents residency in anyone’s minds – anyone’s except Lees-Galloway.

So it’s off to court, which means more money and more time. And what if the Government loses? Does anyone pay for that? Of course they don’t.

This honest and transparent Government is suffering the emperor’s clothes scenario, they’re full of it.

And what of all the cases for residency that are genuine? That don’t involve drug dealing, lying, and jail time? Having set the bar so low, do they all get to stay? Of course they don’t.

This as it turns out, as we said all along, was not complex. It was open and shut, except given Lees-Galloway is so useless, he took the gun and blew his foot off.

And even then refuses to accept it is him, and him alone, that should be reflecting from the back benches.

Paula Bennett perfectly highlights Govt’s insidious approach to benefits

Paula Bennett has put together a sterling piece for the Whanganui Chronicle in which

who appears to have had a crack at her over her weight and weight loss.

Now I say appears because I didn’t see the original, and given this isn’t actually about the original, I don’t need to go seeking it. For the cleverness in the Bennett response is that it isn’t actually about the original. It’s a party political piece snuck in under cover of a response to the original.

And, to be frank, the original appears from what Bennett suggests, to be a petty, nasty little bit of work that attacks the person not the ball. I have no time for such behaviour.

Bennett begins by saying she sucks up a lot, ignores most of it, the cost of her weight loss operation was nothing like the figure quoted, the dress in the photo was, in fact cheap, and that as the spokesperson for women for National she’s proud of her role.

But then the genius starts, it goes from a response to an election pitch, and notably what her and her party have done for women generally, and the country as a whole. Part of the overall pitch is a nugget of gold so bright Byron would have been proud.

She talks of the 11,000 more New Zealanders this current government has let on the jobseeker benefit, something we have raised a number of times.

The criteria for the benefit is you are able to work, yet can’t find any. Now, that immediately to most of us is absurd, because this country for the past several years has been in the depths of a crisis in industry after industry looking for labour, and not being able to find it.

So why the 11,000 more? The answer Bennett tells us, the government changed the rules. It doesn’t sanction people who repeatedly don’t turn up for appointments and has no expectation that those on jobseeker support can find work, or can earn a living. This, says Bennett is cruel, and she is right.

Then the nugget of gold. It comes from new MP Agnes Lo ======================================== SAMPLE 7 ========================================

The complaints ranged from the specific to. in the case of Hager and women’s hockey, the particularly vague.

For those of us observing, it seemed there were a bunch of the Black Sticks who simply didn’t like the way they were coached.

Hager was a bit hard, a bit expectant, a bit old school.

Cycling, if you followed their saga, had at least specific allegations of rules broken.

Women’s football sadly looked more like the cycling, a lot of angst and reaction to approach, as opposed to egregious crimes.

All sports though, partly because of the day and age we live in, and the growing fear that telling it like it is may offend, responded with the obligatory review.

Jobs were lost, shortcomings were highlighted and promises of a better tomorrow were made.

Actually the hockey review isn’t even out, but we know what it’ll say and Hager clearly read the writing on the wall.

But – and here is why all sports fans should be worried – just what exactly have the Black Sticks achieved?

Remember after the review was announced a not inconsiderable number of former players who’d been coached by Hager came out supporting him.

They appeared to articulate what most of us were thinking.

The culture wasn’t broken, it was just that the team had a bunch of people who didn’t like the way they were treated. And instead of the old approach of “if you don’t like it you know where the changing room is” we now need inquiries.

Because nowadays every upset is serious, every tear needs wiping, every grievance needs an inquiry.

But as hockey, like cycling and football, spent lord knows how much energy and money investigating the numerous agitations, what was so dangerously forgotten was the very reason these teams exist.

To win.

Elite sport is not about fun and giving it a go, it’s about winning.

And the thing about Hager was that he was a winner.

He’d taken a side that was outside the world top 10 and taken them to number 3.

In other words he had done what elite coaches are hired to do – be victorious.

This was a side that was a genuine prospect at the world champs and Olympic games.

This was a side that outshone their male counterparts.

This was a side that was consistently putting not just hockey but women’s sport on the map.

It was a success story.

Did it come at a high price? Presumably for some, hence the complaints.

So the upshot here, is those that couldn’t hack it, whined, got listened to, and as a result they’ve lost their coach.

And where has that coach gone?

England – the current Olympic champions.

In others words Hager has landed a promotion – he’s gone to coach a better side.

Now what does that tell you about our approach to winning and England’s approach to winning?

And how will New Zealand hockey explain their approach and attitude when we next meet England (which isn’t far off) and get spanked because they’re a side that likes winning more than we do – and likes to hire the talent that can drive that philosophy.

Will they be happy to say, ‘we may have lost, but at least all our players felt included?’

In bending over to accommodate the world’s current fascination with touchy-feely political correctness. We run the risk of forgetting how to win, or worse, even wanting to.

So who won here? Mark Hager did.

No proof Government’s jobs spending spree will work

The Government is on quite the spending spree ahead of our national day.

$100 million for the region up north, $20m for a local council and now some $80m for jobs. Not just up north for jobs – but for regions that are struggling. As always, like KiwiBuild, their rationale is sound – even if the delivery will prove problematic.

The country has been doing well when it comes to jobs. Whether it continues that way is another question for another day – but over the past decade we have worked ourselves into the globally envious position of basically having full employment.

But as is always the case growth and success is not universal. Some places have done better than others – hence the $82m.

But – and it’s a but well worth considering – just what is the $82mgoing on? Like the $100m, just who is getting it – and what do they do with it?

That’s the test of real government policy – not the announcement – anyone can pick a number and yell it from the rooftops. The real test is where it went and what sort of return you got from it.

And like Kiw ======================================== SAMPLE 8 ======================================== The complaints ranged from the specific to. in the case of Hager and women’s hockey, the particularly vague.

For those of us observing, it seemed there were a bunch of the Black Sticks who simply didn’t like the way they were coached.

Hager was a bit hard, a bit expectant, a bit old school.

Cycling, if you followed their saga, had at least specific allegations of rules broken.

Women’s football sadly looked more like the cycling, a lot of angst and reaction to approach, as opposed to egregious crimes.

All sports though, partly because of the day and age we live in, and the growing fear that telling it like it is may offend, responded with the obligatory review.

Jobs were lost, shortcomings were highlighted and promises of a better tomorrow were made.

Actually the hockey review isn’t even out, but we know what it’ll say and Hager clearly read the writing on the wall.

But – and here is why all sports fans should be worried – just what exactly have the Black Sticks achieved?

Remember after the review was announced a not inconsiderable number of former players who’d been coached by Hager came out supporting him.

They appeared to articulate what most of us were thinking.

The culture wasn’t broken, it was just that the team had a bunch of people who didn’t like the way they were treated. And instead of the old approach of “if you don’t like it you know where the changing room is” we now need inquiries.

Because nowadays every upset is serious, every tear needs wiping, every grievance needs an inquiry.

But as hockey, like cycling and football, spent lord knows how much energy and money investigating the numerous agitations, what was so dangerously forgotten was the very reason these teams exist.

To win.

Elite sport is not about fun and giving it a go, it’s about winning.

And the thing about Hager was that he was a winner.

He’d taken a side that was outside the world top 10 and taken them to number 3.

In other words he had done what elite coaches are hired to do – be victorious.

This was a side that was a genuine prospect at the world champs and Olympic games.

This was a side that outshone their male counterparts.

This was a side that was consistently putting not just hockey but women’s sport on the map.

It was a success story.

Did it come at a high price? Presumably for some, hence the complaints.

So the upshot here, is those that couldn’t hack it, whined, got listened to, and as a result they’ve lost their coach.

And where has that coach gone?

England – the current Olympic champions.

In others words Hager has landed a promotion – he’s gone to coach a better side.

Now what does that tell you about our approach to winning and England’s approach to winning?

And how will New Zealand hockey explain their approach and attitude when we next meet England (which isn’t far off) and get spanked because they’re a side that likes winning more than we do – and likes to hire the talent that can drive that philosophy.

Will they be happy to say, ‘we may have lost, but at least all our players felt included?’

In bending over to accommodate the world’s current fascination with touchy-feely political correctness. We run the risk of forgetting how to win, or worse, even wanting to.

So who won here? Mark Hager did.

No proof Government’s jobs spending spree will work

The Government is on quite the spending spree ahead of our national day.

$100 million for the region up north, $20m for a local council and now some $80m for jobs. Not just up north for jobs – but for regions that are struggling. As always, like KiwiBuild, their rationale is sound – even if the delivery will prove problematic.

The country has been doing well when it comes to jobs. Whether it continues that way is another question for another day – but over the past decade we have worked ourselves into the globally envious position of basically having full employment.

But as is always the case growth and success is not universal. Some places have done better than others – hence the $82m.

But – and it’s a but well worth considering – just what is the $82mgoing on? Like the $100m, just who is getting it – and what do they do with it?

That’s the test of real government policy – not the announcement – anyone can pick a number and yell it from the rooftops. The real test is where it went and what sort of return you got from it.

And like Kiwi ======================================== SAMPLE 9 ======================================== This is why we have seen so much industrial action this year; the Labour party is their ticket to a re-emergence.

The worst of the changes are the pan-industry agreements, the ability of a union to cut a deal across an entire industry and in doing so remove the individual employer’s ability to fund, run and decide the direction of their own business.

This was quite rightly the business community’s greatest fear.

If you’re a forestry worker, the unions decide your pay, not your employer.

And if you’re an employer, what you can afford becomes irrelevant, as the decision is taken out of your hands.

If there are too many of these agreements, and they affect too many industries, and the industrial action becomes too common, too aggressive, too disruptive, then it’s at this point the Government might start to wish they’d never gone down this track. Because that’s the great sadness of all of this – we have been down this track before, and we didn’t like it.

We got rid of it because it became farcical, we thought this particular approach to industrial relations went out with the likes of Jim Knox, Ken Douglas and Pat Kelly.

But back to the dots. Labour might like to ask itself why National, despite Simon, is on 46 per cent.

Then Labour might like to look at its agenda, Michael Cullen about to deliver the details of a new capital gains tax. A KiwiBuild programme that is suffering severe reputational and fiscal issues. A budget that just last week it was revealed was badly overspent.

An ongoing series of strikes and stop works driven by demands for increases so large many are laughable. A sense that ineptness, bad decision-making and poor governance isn’t dealt to (Iain Lees-Galloway I am looking at you).

And now an industrial upheaval from a failed bygone era.

That is an anathema to most ordinary new Zealanders who’ve relished a decade of economic prosperity built on hard work, return on hard work, and an industrial freedom to be judged on your abilities, not a collective sop to cover the backsides of the weakest link.

A solid inherited economy is really all that’s saved the Government this year.

But if they care to join the dots they will see increasingly clearly, that the polls are softening, the storm clouds are looming and the industrial reforms feared by so many might just turn out to be their biggest mistake.

Globetrotting Greens co-leader James Shaw is full of hot air

I read with interest over the weekend that the latest venture into virtue signalling is to stop flying in 2019. No more planes, no more trips, no more destinations.

It’s one thing to give up a plastic bag, does it change the world? No, but it might make you feel a bit better about yourself. Maybe you want to not drink in January, or July, or whatever month it is that the earnest gather in.

But not to fly? For as long as the human race has existed we have wanted to explore, to discover, and nothing has enabled us to do that more with speed and comparative cheapness than the plane. The plane has revolutionised travel, it has shrunk the world, and made the planet more accessible than we ever might have imagined just a few short decades ago.

And the next step is one stop destinations, anywhere to anywhere in one go. And beyond that we have space, commercial flights to the moon, to who knows where.

But let’s not bother with any of that, let’s just stay here, jump on a bike, go to a freedom camping ground, pitch a tent, and compost our own rubbish. If any reasonable number of us did any of this, we’d cripple the airline industry headed, of course in this country, by our national carrier. And we all have a stake in that.

And the people peddling this nonsense are the climate change brigade, the alarmists who, for at least a couple of decades now, have told us we are on the edge of a precipice, the point of no return,and unless we act now, or as it was 20 years ago, then the Earth as we know is over.

Except, of course, it isn’t, hasn’t and most likely probably won’t be. This is not to deny some sort of climate change is going on, but it is to, at least in some small way, call out the alarmists who as each month, year, and decade go by seem more and more wrong.

And as the message fails to maintain its urgency or presence in our minds, if it ever did, they need to come up with more weird and wonderful ideas to attract our attention, and further enhance and progress their agenda.

Which brings us to James Shaw, the co-leader of ======================================== SAMPLE 10 ======================================== We say, ‘well, we like to shoot deer, or get rid of rabbits on farms’. Then I heard myself explaining how we don’t have a gun register, don’t track ammunition, can pimp up our guns without trace. It all sounded so hopelessly naive, like what the hell have we been thinking?

But then I cite the numbers: yes we have a lot of guns, but we don’t shoot people with them.

The great debate in America is the more guns are available, the more mass death goes on. Well that’s not true here, we have one gun per three people, which is not as many as America. But if the equation was accurate you would have concluded we should have dealt with a lot more gun crime than we already do.

Our police are not routinely armed, you can also hear the shock in the host’s silence down the line.

All of this is of course good. This tiny, little country at the bottom of the world is known in a very passing sort of way by many, not unlike our passing knowledge of Boston or Kansas City.

But I tell you what I also tell each interviewer, that the accused 28-year-old mosque gunman with no obvious income was travelling extensively to North Korea, Pakistan, Bosnia, Montenegro and Turkey, and yet wasn’t on any radar. They react the same way I did – and in that I am fearful is the real key to this.

If I can see it, if the interviewers can see it, seems unusual if not alarming. Did we even have a radar on?

But mostly the interview ends with how impressed they are by the outpouring of love and support they have seen.

I tell them it’s the advantage of a small and close-knit country. Big events literally stop it in its tracks. You know when you join others from the outside looking in, in conversation, you realise there is a lot to be proud of.

This is a lame hit job on Simon Bridges

What a hit job last night on TV3 on Simon Bridges.

Here’s what they ran. The National leader’s expenses have been leaked. All expenses are coming out eventually, these have been leaked, you’ve got to ask where they were leaked from and why they were leaked.

Travel and accommodation for three months for Bridges: $113,000 – $83,000 was spent travelling up and down the country in a Crown limo.

It equates, said Newshub – listen to this, this is the kind of crap you get these days in political journalism – to $919 a day, more than people earning the minimum wage take home in the week

So what? Lots of things happen every day that cost more than people earning the minimum wage take home in a week. The two aren’t connected.

You can argue whether or not it was effective, but as a new person in the job, what is Simon Bridges supposed to do?

You’re supposed to get out and meet people. How do you get out and meet people? You want him to walk? You want him to ring people? You want him to get a party line installed and 20 people get him on the phone

What do you want him to do to communicate with people, to hear what’s going on in the country, and understand all of this – and presumably before the next election and put out a bit of policy.

What else is he supposed to do but get in a car?

If he hired a private jet, you might have an argument – but he got in a car and drove around the country.

What else is he supposed to do?

My Cabinet reshuffle – The good ministers and the inept, incompetent and invisible

From the ‘I am here to help’ file, why don’t we look at the pending Cabinet reshuffle? Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has decided we will get one after the budget in May. Why then? I have no idea.

But the good thing about the reshuffle, having had a look at the current line up, is there is plenty of reshuffling to be done.

The further good news is the reality of government is you only need a handful of really competent operators to actually make things function, the rest is largely made up of do gooders, try-hards, and party hacks.

This Government’s executive is large, larger than they said it would be, and could be for efficiencies sake trimmed down. And also to a degree some of the dead wood has already been removed in the form of Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri, who would have made the “let’s move them sideways” list anyway.

How about we start with the talent? We stick initially with Labour given that’s the part the Prime Minister controls – she’s not reshuffling Winston is she?

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