No 5 “news” to Hopkins


Was the little bird who told Kiwiblog  that Jim Hopkins is number five on Act’s list right?

I just asked him and he said, “Gosh it’s news to me.”

Take from that what you will.

If it means yes, why the secrecy? This is politics not I spy.

If it means no then who is number five and what is Act playing at?

If it’s someone who creates a huge impact when his/her name is announced then s/he could oversahdow numbers one to four.

But if it’s not, the announcement will be an anticlimax; the party will look stupid and numbers six and above will have their noses out of joint.

The list is here.

Sneak preview of Fleur’s Place book


When I was supplementing Lonely Planet’s offerings on North Otago yesterday I ought to have mentioned Fleur’s Place  at Moeraki.

I was there for lunch with an Argentinean visitor today and as usual the food was delicious ( Akaroa scallops for him, blue cod with chilli coconut and coriander for me, both accompanied by fresh vegetables).

But what gives Fleur’s Place the edge is Fleur herself. She’s a delight, her enthusiasm is infectious and today she had an added sparkle because she’d just got an advance copy of the book Fleur’s Place by Graham Warman and Paul Sorrell.

I didn’t have time to read the words and recipes but was won over by the photos which captured Fleur, her staff, food, Moeraki identities, land and seascapes beautifully.

The book, which is published by Penguin, will be launched at Fleur’s Place at the end of next month. The sneak preview I got today was enough to solve the what-do-I-get-them-for-Christmas? question for several people on my list.

A few wee jokes


GoNZofreakpower pointed me to the 50 best jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He picked Stephen Brown’s:

“The Scots invented hypnosis, chloroform and the hypodermic syringe. Wouldn’t it just be easier to talk to a woman?”

And yes that tickled me too. I also had a grin at:

I told the ambulance men the wrong blood type for my ex, so he knows what rejection feels like” – Pippa Evans

“I’m glad they invented emoticons, otherwise I wouldn’t know what my dad was thinking” – Kerry Godliman

One-armed butlers, they can take it but they can’t dish it out” – Tim Vine

“My uncle Cleetus is illiterate and ambidextrous. Which is a double tragedy. He is unable to write, with both hands” – Wilson Dixon

And most of the rest are good too, but copying any more might be plagerism so you’ll have to pop over to the site to read them.

Labour chose dearest ETS


Wouldn’t you know it? Not only is Labour trying to rush through the Emissions Trading Scheme without the serious deliberations it needs, they chose the most expensive  option for it.

The Government delayed bringing transport fuels into its Emissions Trading Scheme to reduce its impact on inflation — but it chose the most expensive of four options Treasury put up.

Documents obtained by Radio Live under the Official Information Act showed Treasury preferred other options than the one chosen.

It’s bad enough that the proposed ETS will have a huge economic cost with little or no environmental impact. Why would they make it worse by choosing the most expensive option?

Is there more?


Keeping Stock, with tongue in cheek, muses that next time he and his wife visit their lawyer they’ll use the Peters’ method of paying what they want, when they want, if at all.

He thinks he might try that with their accountant and other providers of goods and services and that raises the question – who else, if anyone, has been providing what without payment to New Zealand First and/or its leader?

Audrey Young  attempts to explain the unusual relationship between Peters and his lawyer.

Do we have a right to know if there are similar unorthodox relationships with other people who provide services or supplies to him and his party?

Unofficial Undie 500 event this weekend?


Police reinforcements are being called to Dunedin this weekend in preparation for the probable arrival of the unofficial Undie 500.

The annual Undie 500, in which students drive from Christchurch to Dunedin in vehicles costing less than $500, would have marked its 20th anniversary this year.

The event was marred by disorder in 2006 and again last year.

Attempts to negotiate a revamped Undie 500 with authorities failed and traditional organiser Ensoc (University of Canterbury’s engineering society) cancelled the Undie 500 this year.

Legal advice also led to the cancellation of an alternative official event, Trek 08.

A rogue event has been talked about on social networking websites Facebook and Bebo since the official events were cancelled and an email was circulated among Canterbury University students this week saying an Undie 500-style rally was planned for this weekend.

It’s not just Dunedin that has problems. The manager of Oamaru’s KFC, Barry Baylis,  told the Oamaru Mail that previous Undie 500 participants have created chaos and left revolting messes in their wake.

I must be getting old because I can remember a time when it was possible to have fun even if alcohol was involved without upsetting other people and with no need for police.

Manager binned for black boxers


When the officials who monitor the rules  sin-bin a manager over the colour of competitors’ underwear I think we can say that the Olympics have got a little too officious. 

Olympic officials got their knickers in a twist over the Black Sticks’ undies, and suspended their manager for yesterday’s vital hockey match against Germany.

Kevin Marr watched from the grandstand after Bradley Shaw, Simon Child and Blair Hopping wore visible black short-style undies under their white shorts in the 2-2 draw with China.

Under the rules, shorts and undies must match, but New Zealand were in their alternate white strip against China, and the players did not own alternate white undies.

Initially officials wanted to suspend the players involved.

When Marr said that was unfair since he was in charge of what the players wore, he was suspended instead, which prevented him sitting in the team dugout.

“They’re pretty pedantic rulings,” Marr told NZPA.

Let’s give him a gold for understatement.

But it was worse for the Germans who couldn’t find red knickers when they changed from their number one black strip for their match against the Black Sticks.

German manager Jochen Heimpel contacted Marr yesterday to say the indiscretion had been noticed and his players had been threatened with suspension from their semifinal.

Germany were likely cop it worse than New Zealand, as a warning to all sides was issued after the black undies put in their appearance.

Marr expected Heimpel to cop a two-match suspension.

And the gold for pedantry goes to…

Can we save them from themselves?


Search and Rescue  are not impressed with inexperienced and ill-prepared tourists.

Land search and rescue spokesman Phil Melchior, of Wanaka, said inexperienced alpine tourists were an ongoing problem and accounted for 30 percent of back country fatalities.

“People come to New Zealand and don’t understand just how fast the weather can change,” he said.

The six Australian tourists were caught out in heavy snow, a week after venturing into the mountains. They had no guide, avalanche beacons or probes, snow shoes or skis and only one shovel between them.

“There are extremely lucky to be alive in the circumstances, the chances of the rescue party finding six corpses were at least as high as finding six live people.” Mountain Safety Council avalanche programme manager Steve Schreiber said the tourists were foolish and needlessly endangered the lives of their rescuers.

“The weather we’ve had is just diabolical,” he said. “They were asking for trouble.” Mountaineers needed to take more responsibility for their own safety instead of expecting to be bailed out, he said.

The trouble is people don’t know what they don’t know and those who are experienced trampers or climbers in their own countries may not understand the differences between our conditions and climate and those they are used to.

We did a day walk in the mountains on the Liechtenstein – Austrian border, prepared as we’d need to be at home with food and water in our day packs. About three hours in to the trek we came across a cafe in the middle of nowhere. We remarked then that if this is what Europeans are used to it’s no wonder they get in to trouble when they come to New Zealand.

A friend backed this up with his story about coming across a group of English trampers on the third day of a five day tramp on Stewart Island. They were almost out of food becasue they’d taken only enough for a couple of days thinking they’d be able to buy more en route.

But how do you protect people from their own ignroance?  The Press has some suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

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