Flood claims cows

August 26, 2008

North Canterbury farmer Peter Schouten could do nothing but watch as 100 of his cows were washed into a river on their way to the morning milking.

“When I got there the cows that were walking towards me were just dropping into the river. That was the most horrific sight I have ever seen,” Mr Schouten said.

He said the bridge was “more like a highway bridge than a dairy farm bridge” and the bridge itself was still intact but the southern entrance had been washed away.

On many farms the cows were “just a number” but on his family owned and operated farm they had a “real passion” for the animals and “seeing your favourite cows being washed down the river was like losing a pet dog”.

Almost 30 cows had survived and been recovered alive, but the rest were still missing.

Good farmers do know their individual animals and this would be a devastating experience for the family and their staff.


Technical defence

August 26, 2008

Paul Gallagher writes about defence by parliamentary technicality and says Margaret Wilson’s hands were tied by standing orders today.

She didn’t have much in the way of options when presented with a claim of sub judicae from Winston Peters.

But:

With patience, Rodney Hide’s tenacity will hopefully see to it that these matters are properly and extensively investigated. He shouldn’t misdirect his frustration into challenging the Speaker. He should instead renew his pressure on Peters with even more vigour. Biding his time may offer Hide more time to consolidate his position.

And if the reliance on sub judicae is found to be unreasonable, Peters may have just managed this afternoon to dig himself a deeper, more hazardous hole.

And what was Hide trying to discolse today? Grant Flemming  writes:

ACT leader Rodney Hide has made explosive allegations that New Zealand First was paid off by Simunovich Fisheries to stop leader Winston Peters making corruption claims against it.

 

The allegations, made under parliamentary privilege, revolve around Simunovich Fisheries, which was at the centre of a 2003 parliamentary committee inquiry into the allocation of quota for a crustacean called scampi.

. . . Mr Hide’s allegations, included in questions to Prime Minister Helen Clark on the Government’s stance on corruption, included:

– that a businessmen had told The Dominion Post newspaper he was one of several people Simunovich boss Peter Simunovich had given cheques of $9999 in 2002 to pass on to NZ First in return for Mr Peters stopping allegations of wrongdoing by Simunovich Fisheries and he had said that “sure enough within a couple of weeks Winston Peters did shut up”;

– that a statement from the businessman, who was now afraid for his safety, had been passed on to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO);

– that the businessman claimed Mr Peters had gone to meet Mr Simunovich to discuss the evidence of corruption and had stated that for a payment of $50,000 “we would just slowly get rid of it”;

– that the businessman had kept the bank records.

Peters said the claims were baseless and formed the basis of a defamation case.

Mr Peters later attempted to ask his own question, which appeared to suggest there may have been cheques NZ First had received from some individuals or groups but never cashed.

“If there was a subsequent series of cheques, paid some substantial time later, despite the fact that there was an inquiry in this house that concerned a business and, here’s the relevant point, those cheques were never cashed.”

Mr Peters was then cut off by Ms Wilson on the basis that Mr Peters himself had claimed the matter was sub judice.

These are very serious allegations which must be investigated because it’s not only Winston Peters’ career at stake, it’s New Zealand’s reputation for the absence of corruption.

Hat tip: Keeping Stock


Speaker assists Act election campaign

August 26, 2008

The Labour Party is in disarray tonight after Speaker Margaret Wilson admitted she has been assisting Rodney Hide with Act’s election campaign.

“It started on August the first when Rodney provoked me into cracking a joke. Everyone laughed and I liked it and people liked me. It was all such fun and I wanted more of it,” she said.

“I realised then it wasn’t going to happen with Labour in power, you see we’re not allowed to laugh. Helen says so and Heather makes sure we do what we’re told. But I liked laughing, I’m sick of being the bossy one, no-one likes, it’s lonely.

“That’s when I made the decision to help Rodney’s election campaign and that’s why I did what I did today.

“I kept saying I was sorry but I wasn’t really, because I knew that if I didn’t let Rodney ask his question and then sent him out he’d get all that wonderful publicity and Act would get more votes and join National in government and then we’ll all have so much more fun in the next parliament. Not that I’ll be there but I’ll still watch it on TV and be able to see Rodney. He’ll be a Minister and all because I helped him.

“It was going to be our little secret, but I had to come out about it because everyone’s picking on me. They think I was wrong  and they’re saying nasty things  because they don’t understand  what I was doing.

“Of course I wasn’t letting Winston Peters get away with anything fishy or hide behind standing orders or parliamentary privilege; and it had nothing at all to do with needing his votes to pass legislation for the Emissions Trading Scheme; and I definitely wasn’t being unfair to Rodney.

“That would be showing bias, it would bring the house into disrepute, goodness me, it might even prompt people to suggest I was incompetent and cast aspersions on my impartiality, then they’d start going on about freedom of speech and democracy. And we couldn’t have that just because they didn’t realise I was joking.”

Labour leader Helen Clark could not be reached for comment but her spokesperson Heather Simpson said she thought is was a hoot.

Hat Tips: Keeping Stock, The Hive, Roarprawn, Half Done,


Not what doctor ordered

August 26, 2008

Police have been called in to investigate after Christchurch Hospital discovered that medicine prescribed to relieve pain had been diluted or replaced with water.

A spoonful of water might have a place in a study of placebos but it’s definitely not what the doctors ordered.


Do go (to) the roarprawn

August 26, 2008

When Busted Blonde left a comment on an earlier post I clicked on the website and got a warning that the blog may have content suitable only for adults.

I’ve had a lot of spam comments from porn websites in the last few days so didn’t go any further.

However, The Hive recommended a new website and when I clcked the address I got the same warning but, reassured by Queen Bee’s recommendation I continued and discovered roarprawn.

She’s right of centre and interested in farming, fishing, forestry, food and politics.

She’s also got a sense of humour and I didn’t find anything on the blog that explained the adults only warning – unless there’s a double entendre in the recipe for fish heads which I don’t understand 🙂


Did tough love case have to go to court?

August 26, 2008

A tough love call to police from parents who wanted to give their son and his mates a scare ended up court.

The police prosecutor said the defendent stole his mothers credit card and gave it to friends who used it for a $720 spending spree.

The parents had wanted police to give the youths a stern talking to, offer them diversion and teach them a lesson which would keep them on track in future. However, police said the offending was too serious for diversion and laid charges.

Judge Philip Moran said the two youths who were charged had acknowledged their offending, taken responsibility, and pleaded guilty.

“I am persuaded that young men setting out on their lives don’t need convictions for such serious charges.”

He discharged them without conviction and ordered them to pay back the money.

A friend discovered her daughter had stolen something from a shop. She spoke to the youth aid officer who gave the girl a stern talking to then accompanied her while she returned the goods and apologised to the owner.

But that was several years ago. Don’t police have that sort of discretion now or did they choose not to use it?  Surely if the parents, who were the victims of the crime, only wanted to give their son a fright there was no need to clutter the courts by laying charges.

Fortunately the judge used his discretion. But other parents learning of this may hesitate to use tough love if they think it might end in court.


Greens back ETS

August 26, 2008

The Greens have decided to back to announce they’re backing the Emissions Trading Scheme.

That leaves Winston Peters just where he likes to be – holding the trump cards because his party has the votes which will determine if Labour is able to pass the legislation introducing the ETS or not.


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