Someone’s eating my share

04/09/2008

TV3 reports  that New Zealanders eat about 7 million servings of hot chips a week – nearly two servings each.

Someone’s definitely eating my share because although I have several vices of the culinary kind, chips aren’t among them.

Now if it was chocolate…


It’s only one poll

04/09/2008

The latest Roy Morgan poll  shows a significant narrowing of the gap between National and Labour.

National is now at 44% support (down 3.5) and Labour is up 4 to 38%.

There is some comfort in the knowledge that New Zealand First has only 2.5% support, down 4 points to the lowest they’e been for a year.

The Green Party got 8%  support (up 0.5), Maori Party 3.5% (up 1.5), ACT NZ 1.5%  (unchanged), United Future 1% (up 1) and others 1% (up 0.5).

It’s only one poll and the gap was going to tighten. But why it has when John Key showed he had both gumption and principles when he ruled Peters out of a National-led government; and while Helen Clark is bound tight to Peters; Labour is bulldozing through the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation; the economy is in recession and the party has still to announce any policy defies logic.

Like Fairfacts Media over at No Minister I’m gobsmacked.

[Update: Maybe we can take some hope from No Right Turn who reports on a poll which shows the Christian Heritage party which disbanded in 2006 got more support (.4%) than the Alliance and United.]


Anonymity rules ok

04/09/2008

If you’re making your views public on a blog should you also make your name public?

Adam Smith  over at Inquiring Mind brought this issue to my notice when he noted that Policy Blog has an issue with psuedonymous bloggers.

My name and political affiliations are there for all to see on the “about”  page of this blog. But I don’t have a job or business which might be compromised by anything I write.

Other people are not so fortunate.

Adam, Inventory 2 at Keeping Stock, Queen Bee at The Hive and Busted Blonde at Roarprawn all choose to keep their identities to themselves. But it’s not only those on the right of the blogosphere who prefer to blog anonymously, Poneke who has declared his blog a politics-free zone and Jafapete on the left also use pseudonyms.

If they were launching personal attacks against other people I would be less relaxed about their anonymity. But all of them write well reasoned and intelligently argued posts and comments – even those with which I disagree 🙂 – and I have never known any of them to indulge in personal invective.

I happen to know who Poneke is but respect his reasons for not telling the world his name. No doubt some people know, or guess,  who is behind his or the other pseudonyms.

They they choose not to blog under their real names is their perogative, and the people over at Policy Blog have the right not to accept their comments.


Hide takes NZ First to police

04/09/2008

Rodney Hide has laid a complaint with the police  about New Zealand First’s failure to declare donations over $10,000 on its annual return to the Electoral Commission.

Mr Hide’s formal complaint letter to police outlined the apparent breach and asked police to investigate.

NZ First submitted its 2007 return late. It was due on April 30 but was not filed until May 16. If a prosecution was to made it would need to happen within six months – that is before November 16.

The commission spokesman said if a corrupt practice was proven the party secretary could be fined $20,000 and or a year in jail. If the offending was unintended the penalty was just the fine but if the secretary was found to have taken all reasonable steps and believed they filed an accurate return they had a defence.

ACT leader Rodney Hide said Mr Peters had to take responsibility for the mess given that the party’s 2007 return was two weeks late because party officials were waiting for him to sign it off.

“So Winston’s responsible for everything and it wasn’t that long ago that he was denying any knowledge of the Spencer Trust. Now we understand it’s a major funding route for his party,” he said.

It is the party secretary not its leader who is leagally responsible not its leader should a case be made. But New Zealand First is it’s leader and this reflects as badly on him as the party.


No means no

04/09/2008

A British MP  has taken issue with Dame Helen Mirren for saying that women couldn’t expect to take a man to court for date rape if they’d voluntarily gone to his room, started having sex then asked him to stop.

The Queen star admitted she was the victim of date rape on several occasions in her youth because she didn’t have the courage to stand up to men who wanted to have sex with her.

Mirren added she never reported the incidents to police because the men had not been violent with her.

The actress also stated in the candid interview with British magazine GQ that it would be hard for women to press charges against someone they had planned on being sexually active with.

She told the publication: “I was (date-raped), yes. A couple of times. Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will.”

“I don’t think she (a female rape victim) can have that man into court under those circumstances.”

And the star has been heavily criticised by rape victim supporters who say her comments only make it harder for victims to get the judicial system to take the crime seriously.

British Home Office official Tony McNulty brands Mirren’s comments “profoundly disappointing” and “very unhelpful”.

He adds: “No means no, means no, and that needs to be the message as clearly as we can in terms of rape.”

The idea that anyone – male or female – can’t have a change of mind and be safe from rape is an appalling one. Mirren contradicted the good she did by admitting she’d been a victim of date rape with her suggestion that it might not be a matter for the courts.

Ex-expat has more to say on the matter here.


Vulture

04/09/2008


Amateurs?

04/09/2008

Helen Clark excused New Zealand First’s failure to report donations as required by law because they were amateurs.

There are thousands of other voluntary organisations run by real amateurs who manage to meet their legal reporting obligations so amateur joins the growing list of invalid excuses for the party’s donations debacle.

But “amateur” doesn’t fit the experience and qualifications of the party’s office holders anyway.

Keeping Stock has a comment made by Turlough on Kiwiblog which counters that by listing the qualifications and experience of the party’s office holders. Members of the professional groups to which they belong do not normally regard themselves as “amateurs”.


Glenn affirms first letter

04/09/2008

Owen Glenn’s second letter to the privileges committee afirms all he said in the first including that Winston Peters asked him for a donation and that he gave it because he wanted to help Labour.

The full text of the letter is here.

Labour’s behaviour towards their generous donor has been more than ungenerous since the donations debacle reached the public. He has good reason to regret his generosity.

Hat tip: Keeping Stock


Yes we have no bananas

04/09/2008

Mike Moore is not impressed by MMP and one of the reasons is:

In New Zealand, Parliament itself doesn’t do the job of scrutiny, questioning and providing competition because, till now, the major parties couldn’t question Mr Peters or the Maori Party because they may have to do a deal with them.

Will the Winston issue peter out? Will the bluff and bullying work again, or has the audience seen through the illusionist tricks he pulled before? The truth is not being told, the people and Parliament lied to – everyone knows this, the contradictions, flip-flops and hypocrisy are clear. Politicians in Britain have resigned in shame for less, and gone to jail in the US. But here’s the thing: even if 94.99 per cent believe this is about rorts, and it’s rotten, and lies have been told, if 5 per cent still vote for Mr Peters, he’s back, and it continues.

Is there 5 per cent out there who believe journalists are worse than politicians? Five per cent believe Elvis is still alive, but if all this is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. God defend New Zealand if this is allowed to go unpunished. We will become a banana republic, without the bananas.

The whole column is here.


NZ First still owes us $158,000

04/09/2008

I wonder if any of the investigations into New Zealand First’s finances will uncover to which charities the party donated $158,000 in the mistaken belief that would absolve them from their debt to parliamentary services?

Given the confusion over their finances and the many different versions of what’s been happening, it’s fair to question if the donations were made at all.

However to whom or if they donated isn’t as important as the fact that New Zealand First still owes us $158,000.

Until it is repaid to parliamentary services, every cent they spend on their campaign tells us they believe getting re-elected is more important than repaying their debt to tax payers.


Blue September

04/09/2008

Blue is for boys  and that’s why it’s the colour chosen to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

Every year about 600 men in New Zealand die of Prostate Cancer. Fathers, sons, brothers, grandfathers. Gone! This happens because men don’t know how dangerous the disease is, they don’t talk to their doctor about it, they simply don’t do anything about it. This has to stop.

That’s why in Blue September we’re getting the word out about prostate cancer.  This September if you paint your face blue, donate money to the Prostate Cancer Foundation or even tell people it’s Blue September you will be directly helping to lower  the death rate and reduce the suffering from this disease.

This is because the more men and their families that the Foundation can reach with its message will result in more men taking a pro-active stance to their health and identifying this disease while it is curable thus reducing the number of men likely to die and suffer from it.

It’s a serious issue and has nothing to do with politics but blue is also the National Party’s colour.
When National lost the election in 2002 I made a commitment to wear something blue every day until we got back into power. This month I’ll have to double my efforts to support prostate awareness too.

2nd Glenn letter increases heat

04/09/2008

A second letter from Owen Glenn to the privileges committee contradicts WInston Peters again.

The letter said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the request came to me from Mr Peters. I would not have made the donation on any other basis through any intermediary. I did not do so.”

It was also revealed today that Mr Glenn will appear in person at the committee on Tuesday.

Implicit in Mr Glenn’s letter is a claim that Mr Peters telephoned Mr Glenn on December 14, 2005 and that Mr Peters’ lawyer Brian Henry followed up the call later that day with an email.

Mr Glenn said in the letter that he gave the authority for the payment instructions to be made on December 20, 2005 to be made to the account of Mr Henry.

“Mr Henry supplied the ASB Bank account details in an email from him addressed to me on Wednesday 14 December 2005,” Mr Glenn’s letter says.

That email from Mr Henry refers to an earlier telephone conversation between me and person Mr Henry refers to as ‘my client’ that same day.”

Mr Henry has given testimony to the privileges committee that he approached Mr Glenn to ask for a donation after being an advised to do so by a client of his, but he has emphatically stated that that client was not Mr Peters.

The committee prevented Mr Peters’ lawyer making a full statement at a hearing today.

Following tense exchanges, lawyer Peter Williams made a truncated presentation to the committee in which he said the decision it makes on New First’s donations should not be made on party lines.

He did not address the specifics of the donation from Mr Glenn to NZ First.

The committee had ruled that the broad statement Mr Williams was intending to make went outside its standing orders.

Mr Peters was present at the hearing but did not make any presentations of his own.

The committee is investigating whether Mr Peters broke Parliament’s rules by failing to declare a $100,000 donation from Mr Glenn towards his legal costs.

In a letter to the committee, made public last week, Mr Glenn said Mr Peters sought the $100,000 donation from him in 2005 and then thanked him for it at the Karaka yearling sales in early 2006.

Mr Peters has said it was his lawyer Brian Henry who approached Mr Glenn.

Parliament’s rules only allow legal counsel to talk about issues of process, but Mr Williams repeatedly argued that contributions to MPs’ legal petitions have never been considered a pecuniary matter.

He was repeatedly warned by committee chair Simon Power, but ignored those warnings and continued to outline Mr Peters’ argument.

After 25 minutes Mr Williams concluded his argument and the committee went into closed session.

Mr Peters has said he had no knowledge of the donation until Mr Henry advised him of it on July 18 this year.

Radio New Zealand’s political editor Brent Edwards is discussing the issue with Kathryn Ryan now. It is on line here.


Desperately seeking sheep’s milk

04/09/2008

Whitestone Cheese has lost its supply of sheep’s milk and its delicious Mt Dasher and Stoneyhill fetas are now endangered.

Whitestone managing director Bob Berry said the company could process up to 100,000 litres of sheep’s milk a season.

Sheep produce 1.5 to 2 litres of milk a day so that would require a flock of 150 to 200 sheep.

Whitestone has found a supply of goats’ milk though, and will be launching goats’ milk cheeses soon – a couple of semi softs and a pyramid.

I have no doubt they will be up to the company’s usual high standards but that won’t solve the problem of no sheep’s milk feta which is so delicious on pizzas and in salads.

Whitestone was a product of the 1980s’ ag-sag. You can read how it started here and can view an advertisement which captures Bob’s passion for his produce and North Otago here.  If you watch very carefully and don’t blink at the wrong time you’ll see our cows.

The cheeses are named after North Otago places, the photos at the top of each page on the website were used in the company calendar a couple of years ago and most were taken by John Lamb.


Glenn will give evidence

04/09/2008

Brent Edwards has just given an update on this morning’s meeting of the privileges committee and says Owen Glenn will give evidence to it next Tuesday.

It isn’t clear whether he will appear in person or by video link.

The Morning Report interview is on line here.


Cutting through the crap

04/09/2008

How do you pare down a 250 page submission to the World Trade Organisation?

“Australians are using indefensibly crap science and labyrinthine bureaucracy to keep New Zealand’s far better apples out of their market as long as they can.”

This is from a Southland Times editorial. You can read the rest of it here.


Govt forces up price of fuel & food

04/09/2008

The bill requiring fuel companies to supply biofuel at a fixed percentage of their total sales passed last night.

They have to start supplying it in October this year at 0.5 percent, rising to 2.5 percent by 2012.

Decisions about which type of biofuel is supplied, how much of it is blended with fossil fuels and where it comes from will be up to the industry.

Should we be grateful for small mercies?

Energy Minister David Parker said during the third reading of the Biofuel Bill that the alternative fuels would have to be sustainable.

“We know all biofuels are not equal and sustainability is under increasing scrutiny,” he said.

“But because some biofuels are not good doesn’t mean all are bad.”

Yes, but how do we know we’re getting the good ones?

Mr Parker said the cost was frequently misrepresented and would depend on the price of oil, the cost of biofuels and the exchange rate.

Estimates ranged between a price increase of 1.3 cents a litre and a saving of 4 cents a litre.

Call me cynical but I don’t have a lot of faith in politicians estimates and think it is much more likely to cost us than to save us money.

National opposed the bill and MP John Carter said the Government was asking Parliament to support “a great big, unsubstantiated experiment” without any facts to back it.

He said the OECD, the G8 conference and many other world bodies had all said there was great doubt about the benefits of introducing biofuels.

“Why does it have to be New Zealand?” he asked.

ACT leader Rodney Hide interjected: “No one else is stupid enough.”

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said it was a small step but it would bring in investment that would create the infrastructure to produce biofuels that could be used when new technologies became available.

“The arguments against it are based on a mixture of mind-boggling ignorance by some and an absolute determination by others to ignore all the facts, no matter how many times they are put in front of them,” she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said biofuels had been used in Brazil for 40 years and were produced in many other countries.

And in many other countries they have replaced food crops leading to lower supplies and higher costs.

Biofuels have a place, they may have some benefit. But forcing us to use them before it is established that their production is better for the environment and they won’t be replacing food crops is yet another “we must do something” solution based on emotion rather than science.


Invitation to invasion

04/09/2008

The news  that our navy can’t sail, our airforce can’t fly and our army can’t fight, shines a new light on this heartfelt letter  from Bruce Sheppard to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:

Dear Mr Rudd,

“…Here our voices we entreat…. Australia Defend New Zealand.”

This letter may seem to you ridiculous, but I have to tell you it is deadly serious, and addresses issues that are in both your and New Zealand’s national interest as well as serious humanitarian issues that should concern you and every Australian.

New Zealand’s people are at a critical cross roads. The manipulation of our societal values, beliefs and even capacity to think and act, have resulted in us now lacking the capacity as a nation to govern ourselves or even make sensible choices for our collective future. You may argue that this is true the world over due to the style and nature of people and politics.

Regardless, I ask that you as soon as practicable launch an invasion of New Zealand to restore social order and lawful government.

There is no need for you to do so by surprise, and in fact announcing exactly where you intend to land and when might well be a distinct advantage. You need not fear air strikes on your armada as we don’t have an air force. I believe over the years this has been an ongoing source of aggravation between our countries and previous governments of your country have regarded NZ as a freeloader in the ANZAC alliance.

But now of course this wanton neglect of our military is useful. You need not fear our navy either. You should not need more than 2 frigates to escort your transports. It would be more than enough to see our “fleet” off. Even this is a little overstating our capacity on my part.

Having established the Australians will not encounter much opposition and giving suggestions on how best to take over the country, Sheppard gets to the reasons for his plea:

Now to the real reason you are needed.

NZ now has a totalitarian government like none ever seen before. It would not be so bad if it was benevolent, but it is anything but benevolent.

There are serious allegations of political corruption as well as corruption within our police force and collaboration between politicians and police on such matters. The extent of the corruption and interference in our society escapes the mainstream media’s attention. When it does surface, the whistle blowers are subject to vicious personal attacks. Some of them will be in the refugee numbers referred to above.

There is a conscious destruction of the fabric of our society being perpetrated.

The family unit, which is the building block of modern society, is being destroyed in a number of ways, all presented to the people by thought police as social advancements.

In Africa families are torn apart by war and rape. In NZ it is considerably more clever as our government comes from the intelligentsia part of the socialist/communist spectrum. We have state sponsored economic degradation forcing those who still have ambition to work longer and harder for less, thus also forcing both parents to work.

There are numerous interferences in the relationships between spouses. And between spouses and their children. These are presented as social advancements but in reality are designed to break down the structure of families, and society, making way for the new society that is the secret agenda of our leaders.

We now also have had our freedom of speech severely curtailed by government prohibitions on our people making any comments on the election of leaders publicly. While doing this, in the last election the government raided the public purse to get its own messages out and when caught passed legislation to legalise it.

The continual incursions into the lives of ordinary people in NZ have effectively destroyed the will of many of our people to achieve, or even dream and have aspiration. The government now has converted over 70% of the population into beneficiaries through its work and income for family handouts. This in effect means that our people for the moment can live in relatively comfortable poverty. But if they aspire to better themselves they can’t as the abatement of such benefits means that to work, dream and aspire is severely punished.

While our government has not got prisons full of political prisoners, and while they are not ethnic cleansing our population, what they are doing is exporting to you those who do not buy the new world order that our leaders foresee, plus those who can still dream and aspire for a better life, while imprisoning the rest of the population in dependency. This is the crime against humanity for which Helen Clark and Michael Cullen must be tried.

Once you have them in custody, you will need to assess for yourself the hidden agenda. You will need to take all the positive social spin out of the essence of what they have done and determine if you wish to present them for trial in The Hague.

Kevin, I watched the Australian elections with interest. You struck me as a man with a wholesome vision for your people, a caring man who wishes his people to prosper and be free. You struck me as a man with humour and humanity. Bring your armies in soon.

Yours Sincerely

B R Sheppard,
Counter Revolutionary.

I hadn’t been aware before that Sheppard was a satirist.

[This is an extreme view but satire is allowed to overstate its points. So I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the usual link to Bruce’s blog Stirring the Pot: http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/stirringthepot  goes to the Stuff blog homepage  where there’s no mention of Bruce, his blog or this post. You can still read it here.]


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