Saturday’s smiles



An old farmer was on his death bed.


Friends and whanau had gathered to say their last goodbyes.


He’d hardly moved for days but suddenly his nose twitched and his head turned towards the kitchen from where the smell of baking was coming – his wife was making his favourite biscuits.


He took a deep breath, gathered his strength, half rolled, half fell out of bed and, turning down offers of help, hauled himself upright.


Supporting himself on the wall he struggled along the passage to the kitchen and stood there gazing in delight. If it wasn’t that he felt so awful he’d have thought he’d died and gone to heaven because spread out on the table in front of his delighted eyes were dozens and dozens of Anzac biscuits.


Was this one final act of love from his devoted wife to ensure he left the world a happy man, he wondered as he staggered over to the table and reached out a trembling hand.


Then thwack – his wife smacked him across the knuckles with a spatula.


“Hands off,” she said, “They’re for the funeral.”


Danger in branding their meat like ours


Alliance Group might buy lamb from South America to fill orders it can’t meet from New Zealand.

Chief executive Grant Cuff said with sheep numbers declining around the world, the Invercargill co-operative was looking at supplying North American and European markets with South American lamb.

Alliance considered a similar possibility about a decade ago, but Cuff said the situation had changed.

At the time South American lambs were lighter in weight, there were insufficient numbers and issues with disease and traceability.

South American farmers had improved the quality of lambs and addressed the disease and animal traceability issues which, together with falling sheep numbers, had encouraged Alliance to revisit the idea.

“New Zealand has looked at it before. It is all a matter of timing and priorities and we think the moment is right to have another look.”

Cuff said Alliance was still to decide if the lamb would be sold under its own brands, but initially that was unlikely.



Guaranteeing continuous supply may be necessary to satisfy export markets and if that can’t be done with our own lamb, meat companies will have to look elsewhere.

I have no concern about the quality of meat from South America. I’ve enjoyed several meals of lamb in Argentina and the meat was at least equal to the best I have eaten here, although that was due in part to the way it was cooked – on an asado .

However, there is a danger in branding their meat like ours because foot and mouth disease is a recurring problem in South America.

Keeping separate brands will ensure there is no risk to our exports by association with theirs if or when there is another outbreak of the disease there.

Pollsters Cup on Afternoons


The Pollsters Cup which I posted a couple of weeks ago was used to precede a discussion  on polling with Jim Mora and The Panel yesterday afternoon.

It went like this:

Next on the card is the feature race for the Pollsters’ Cup.


The early favourite is Undecided by May Be out of Confusion. Margin of Error, by Statistics out of Calculator has had some good runs and Don’t Know Don’t Care by Ignorance out of Apathy is also expected to make a strong showing.


Some commentators favour Time For A Change by Hope out of Desperation but others are picking Same But Different by Caution out of Experience. Minor Parties, by Disaffected out of Single Issue are at long odds.


There’s been a delay because there’s a question over the registration of Don’t Care. However, the stewards say a late entry is allowed under special rules so they’re under starter’s orders and they’re away.


Racing now and Time For A Change has the early running. Undecided comes next closely followed by Margin of Error leading  Same But Different by a nose then it’s a couple of lengths back to Minor Parties and Don’t Know Don’t Care is bringing up the rear.


Time For A Change is running strongly in the centre though Same But Different has come up on the right hand side; then it’s Undecided with Minor Parties a neck ahead of Margin Of Error and Don’t Know Don’t Care still trailing the field.


In to the home straight now and it’s anyone’s race. Margin Of Error has taken the lead with Same But Different, Time For A Change bunched up with Undecided. Minor Parties is running out of steam and Don’t Know Don’t Care is a good five lenghts behind.


To the finish line now and it looks like Margin Of Error just made it but it’s too close to call for the places. It’s between Time For A Change and Same But Different with Undecided in fourth place a nose ahead of Minor Parties in fifth and Don’t Know Don’t Care a distant last.



List ranking


I will be incommunicado for most of today because I’m a member of National’s list ranking committee and we’re meeting to determine who goes where on the party list.

I’ve done a couple of time-dealyed posts which will appear later in the day.

Our deliberations  are of course confidential so I won’t be sharing them with you but it is no secret that we are spoiled for choice with a very high standard of candidates so it won’t be an easy task.

As Tracy Watkins  points out:

The poll comes as a buoyant National prepares to unveil its party list rankings tomorrow and, in a sign of the times, it is preparing to put up a record 73 candidates.

The results will be made public at a press conference tomorrow morning.

The polls will tighten …


The polls will tighten before the election. 

Polls are only a snapshot of what is happening at the time.

The only poll that counts is the one of election day.

I know all that, but still I do enjoy a headline like this one for the front-page lead in the Dominion: National steams ahead  National 54% Labour 35%

 National has shrugged off its worst week under John Key to emerge even stronger in today’s Fairfax Media-Nielsen poll, which has it 19 percentage points ahead and comfortably governing alone.


Secret recordings and loose talk by National MPs may have had the Beehive in a spin – but voters appear to have disregarded them.


When you are interested and involved in politics it is sometimes difficult to understand that other people have lives which they get on with happily without being concerned about the minutiae going on in the Thordon bubble.

On today’s results, it is not just Labour facing a rout on election night – the ranks of the minor parties would be ravaged.

Meanwhile, the news just keeps getting worse for NZ First, dogged by controversy over party funding.

Its support has slipped back to 2 per cent, hard on the heels of a poll showing leader Winston Peters is the underdog in Tauranga.

But National leader John Key looks unstoppable – he is now the preferred prime minister for 43 per cent of voters, against Helen Clark’s 31 per cent.

And on page two:

Labour has just weeks to turn around a likely election rout before Prime Minister Helen Clark names the day she goes to the polls.

Today’s Fairfax Media-Nielsen poll has National shrugging off one of its worst weeks under John Key to maintain a seemingly unassailable lead – up three percentage points to 54 per cent support, compared with Labour, which is steady on 35. The rise is even more marked for Mr Key. His popularity as preferred prime minister is up four points to 43, with Miss Clark on 31.

The result is a blow to Labour’s hopes that a mini recovery in last month’s poll signalled the start of a fightback before an election date must be named.

Equally alarmingly for the Government, the lift in National’s support comes despite unguarded comments by National MPs to a cocktail party saboteur who leaked recordings of deputy leader Bill English’s suggestion that state-owned Kiwibank might be sold “eventually”.

His apparent undermining of Mr Key sparked Labour warnings that National had a hidden agenda. But voters appear to have taken those warnings with a grain of salt, and marked the affair down as loose talk, rather than a signal of sinister intentions.

As it was.


The results of the poll which surveyed 1102 voters; has a margin of error of 2.9%; and excluded 11% of those who responded “don’t know” are:


National             54% (up 3 from 51 in July)

Labour               35 %      (35)

Green Party        4%        (5)

NZ First               3%        (4)

Maori Party         2%       (2)

Act                        1%       (1)

United Future      0%      (0)



%d bloggers like this: