Coming home to roost

September 11, 2008

Keeping Stock quotes Gerry Brownlee’s supplementary question:

Gerry Brownlee: Does he recall the repeated calls from Mike Williams on election night 2005 for commentators to wait until the South Auckland booths came in before calling a result, and does he think that that may have been because Mr Williams was confident that sooner or later the “Kentucky Fried Chickens” would all come home to roost?

Which reminded me of this cartoon in Straight Furrow:

Dunedin says mostly no

September 11, 2008

Dave Gee has a video from Dunedin’s Channel 9 TV which went to the city streets to ask if Winston Peters will survive.

Eleven people said no, five said yes. But there’s hope – those who said yes didn’t express any approval of him, they were just going on his record for getting out of very deep holes before.

Biggest food price rise in 19 years

September 11, 2008

I just popped in to the supermarket for a couple of things which, as invariably happens, turned into a basket full and a checkout total more than twice the amount I was expecting.

The latest food price index from Statistics New Zealand helps to explain why: food prices inceased 2.7% in August which is the biggest rise since July 1989 when GST increased from 10% to 12.5%.

All five subgroups recorded upward contributions to the latest Food Price Index (FPI) increase, with the most significant upward contribution coming from the fruit and vegetables subgroup (up 9.6 percent). Within this subgroup, the main contribution came from vegetable prices (up 14.5 percent), driven by higher prices for lettuce (up 33.6 percent) and tomatoes (up 42.8 percent). If vegetable prices had remained constant at July 2008 prices, the FPI would have risen 1.3 percent.

Vegetable prices have increased by a total of 36.4 percent over the past four months, with growing conditions hampered by unusually wet weather.

Grocery food went up 1.9% and meat, poultry and fish increased by 2.6%.

The most significant upward contributions to these subgroups came from, in order of significance, higher prices for cakes and biscuits (up 8.0 percent), fresh milk (up 4.4 percent), and lamb (up 16.8 percent). The most significant downward contribution came from lower prices for yoghurt (down 8.9 percent).

The annual increase in food prices of 10.6%  in the 12 months to August was the largest since the year to May 1990. 

All five subgroups recorded upward contributions to the annual increase, with the most significant being the grocery food subgroup (up 13.1 percent). Within this subgroup, the main contributions came from higher prices for cheese (up 43.8 percent), bread (up 17.4 percent), fresh milk (up 12.5 percent), and butter (up 87.6 percent). 

The fruit and vegetables subgroup rose 19.1 percent in the year to August 2008. The most significant upward contribution came from higher prices for lettuce (up 145.3 percent).

These increases are well above most increases in pay rates and come with high interest rates and the increase in the price of other necessities such as fuel and power.

All of those will be straining household incomes which will be contributing to the slowing domestic economy. That was one of the factors which prompted the Reserve Bank to drop interest rates this morning but it will take a while before the impact of that filters though to household budgets.

Leader demands resignation

September 11, 2008

A politician has been forced to resign  because he misled his leader – but it was in Australia not New Zealand

An Australian state premier says his police minister has quit his Cabinet post over revelations that he danced in his underwear at a parliamentary office party.

New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees told Fairfax Radio Network on Thursday that he demanded Matt Brown’s resignation Wednesday night because Brown had misled him about what had happened at the office party three months ago.
Rees says Brown initially claimed that nothing inappropriate had happened at the party but later admitted to stripping to his underwear.

It’s good to know there’s somewhere in the world where the truth is still valued, ethical standards are upheld and elected representatives are held to account for lying.

School leaver exemptions to be axed

September 11, 2008

He was bright but hated school. He just didn’t fit in.

He was given an exemeption to leave at the age of 14, immediately found himself a job and is now a happy and well adjusted adult.

Under a law changed proposed  by Labour he would no longer be granted an exemption to leave school early.

The Education Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament yesterday would remove all exceptions to children leaving school before the official leaving age of 16.

There were nearly 2000 exceptions last year, down from 4000 in 2006 after an Education Ministry crackdown.

Parents of students aged 15 may apply to the Education Ministry for their children to leave early on the basis of educational problems, conduct, or the unlikelihood of the student gaining benefit from attending school.

Secondary Principals Association president Peter Gall said though he believed in keeping teens in school, the early exemptions were often a relief to parents and pupils.

Some pupils exempted from school had mental health problems but most were “chronic truants whose fit with school just wasn’t right” and were directed into alternative education or unpaid work experience.

If they were to be kept in school for another year there would need to be more government support for schools to cope, he said.

“Where it will impact is to what extent we have to use the law with some students who just don’t want to be there. Do we have to go through and prosecute the parents?”

This is yet another one-size fits all approach. It doesn’t recognise that keeping some teenagers at school won’t do anything for them and will cause problems for other pupils and teachers.

Exemptions shouldn’t be used in isolation, they need to be part of a package which ensures those leaving school early go in to other training or work.

And when they are used it should be in exceptional circumstances, but they ought to be there for the small minority of pupils who will be better off out of school.

Oswald Bastable has another perspective on this issue here.


September 11, 2008

Chicane’s view in The Southland Times:

The morning after

September 11, 2008

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