Southerners want change

September 13, 2008

The Southland Times took to the streets yesterday to get the general public’s views on the election.

The mood was for change and best summed up by this:

Queenstown Lakes District Council Curbing Alcohol Related Violence co-ordinator Merv Aoake said it was nice to finally have an election date.

He would be voting for financial policies that encouraged more growth.

“Then our social issues will be taken care of,” Mr Aoake said.

Simple but true.

Kiwiblogger arrested

September 13, 2008

It must be true, it says so here.

Saturday’s smile

September 13, 2008

Yes it’s an old one, and it may not even be a good one but given the election was announced yesterday it is an appropriate one: 


A man enters a bar and orders a drink and discovers the bar tender is a robot.


The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him,


“What’s your IQ?”


The man replies “150” and the robot proceeds to make conversation about quantum physics and spirituality, bio-mimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory and nanotechnology.


The customer is very impressed and thinks, “This is really cool.”


He walks out of the bar, turns around and comes back in for another drink.


Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him,


“What’s your IQ?”


The man responds, “About 100.”


Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time about league, Holdens, racing, the new BIG Mac, tattoos, Nicky Watson and women in general.


Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test.


He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks,


“What’s your IQ?”


The man replies, “Err, 50, I think.”


And the robot says……really slowly…….

“So…………… ya gonna vote for Helen and Winston again?”

ODHB $6m overbudget for overtime

September 13, 2008

Staff shrotages has led to a $6m overspend in the Otago District Health Board’s overtime budget in the past three years.

A 400% budget blowout in overtime during the past three years, from $1.5 million to $7.4 million, is directly related to vacancies at the Otago District Health Board, chief operating officer Vivian Blake says.

Figures supplied in response to a request from the Otago Daily Times showed overtime payments for nurses and medical staff were over budget by almost $6 million for the past three financial years.

“It is expensive for the district health board and not good for staff to continue to work over their normal hours.”

It’s also a viscious circle – staff shrotages mean existing staff have to work longer hours which makes recruitment and retention difficult which leads to staff shortages…

The problem isn’t peculiar to Dunedin or New Zealand, but our knowledge wave exports – that’s waving goodbye to skilled people – doesn’t help.

A memory of Duncan Laing

September 13, 2008

Duncan Laing died in Dunedin this morning.

He is best known as the coach of of double Olympic gold medal swimmer Danyon Loader, but he also taught many thousands of chidlren to swim, among whom was my daughter.

I can see him now, walking around Moana Pool, dressed in immaculately pressed walk shorts and polo shirt, earning both respect and affection from his pupils.

Duncan was a big man but also a gentle man who always emphasised water safety.

One of the first things he taught chidlren was to roll on to their backs and float. Once they’d mastered that in the learners’ pool he marched them through to the diving well to give them the confidence they’d need to do it if ever they got into deep water.

He was very patient with reluctant swimmers. One of his tricks was to give them a rope to hold on to. He’d tow them to get them started then once they were kicking under their own steam he dropped the rope without them knowing they were on their own. By the time they realised he wasn’t on the other end of the rope they realised they could float without it.

TV3 has a tribute here.

Charity with principles

September 13, 2008

A New York charity turned down a share of a $3m jackpot because it didn’t want to send the wrong message to gambling addicts.

Some New Zealand charities don’t accept the donations from casinos and the proceeds from other gambling for the same reason.

Some New Zealand charities may have accepted money from New Zealand First which ought to have gone to Parliamentary Services, but we have only got Winston Peters’ word for that.

The judge is right

September 13, 2008

A judge has refused to give a man accused of rape a video tape of his alleged victim’s interview with police.

Police fear tapes of victims discussing what happened to them which are regularly made by police, could be posted on the internet for the sexual gratification of other offenders if they fell into the wrong hands.

Police opposed the application and told the court if they were forced to release such tapes, victims could refuse to be interviewed or report a crime.

This week Wellington District Court judge Bruce Davidson refused the accused rapist’s request.

Despite the ruling, the newspaper said the future security of such tapes remained unclear.

A proposed law change to block the release of such tapes intended to be used as court evidence has been withdrawn for more work.

But the Criminal Disclosure Act 2008, which has been passed but has yet to take effect, could force the courts to release tapes not intended as evidence in court but this remains untested.

Police told the court they intended to lobby to change both laws.

I have no idea whether the judge had the legal right to make this ruling but he’s certainly ethically right to do it.

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