Another rogue poll?


The latest Roy Morgan poll shows the gap between National and Labour widening.

National registered 47.5% support, up 3, and Labour had 36.5% support, down 1.5.

However, defying gravity, expectations and logic New Zealand First was at 5%, up 2.5.

Other results were: Green Party 6.5%, down 1.5%; Maori party 1.5%, down 2; Act steady on 1.5%; United Future .5%, down .5 and other unchanged on 1%.

The poll was conducted by phone in the first fortnight of this month and questioned 823 people.

3 ply beats 2


Apropos of the previous post: Toilet paper researchers  in Winsconsin reckon that if 2 ply loo paper is good then 3 ply will be better.

It’s going to be sold to:  women 45 and older who view their bathroom as a “sanctuary for quality time”.

Any woman with young children will know that not even in the loo can she be assured of a few minutes of “quality time”.

And while the quality of toilet tissue is not unimportant, I’d like to think that any women without young children would have many more pleasurable places to provide a sanctury than the loo – be it stocked with 2 or 3 ply paper.

Pooh power


South Island researchers have developed a machine which could turn human waste  and whatever else goes in to sewage treatment ponds into crude oil.

Standards more important than price


Medsafe is considering banning a commonly used antibiotic.

The United States Food and Drug Administration yesterday banned imports of two formulations of amoxicillin syrup and several other drugs made at two plants in India, owned by the company Ranbaxy, because of unresolved concerns from an audit in March. It has not banned sales of existing stocks in the US.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health’s chief adviser on public health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said this afternoon that it had begun the process to ban imports of the drugs. But it would not make a decision on whether to proceed with a ban until considering further information, such as the results of any more recent audits done by other countries’ medicines regulators.

There was no evidence that the drugs had caused any harm or were ineffective.

Would you wait for evidence before you opted not to use it? Given what’s been happening with the poisoned milk in China I wouldn’t.

And there is a bigger issue here – how safe is other food or medicine from these places?

There are huge opportunities in these rapidly developing and populous countries which include the ability to manufacture at a much lower cost than is possible here.

But that’s false economy if quality and safety can’t be guaranteed; and any health risk is too high a price to pay for cheaper food or medicine.

Update: The New Zealand Food Safety Authority  says small amounts of Chinese milk products have been imported recently but the risk of poisoning is miniscule.

Cullen no confidence in SFO?


TV1 news has just reported that Michael Cullen refused to express confidence in the Serious Fraud Office after this afternoon’s privileges committee hearing into Winston Peters and the donation debacle.

Does that mean there’s a problem with the SFO performance or does it mean Cullen doesn’t like where their investigations into Peters and New Zealand First is taking them?

Update: Keeping Stock  explains the seriousness of this Cullen is Attorney General and one of the roles of that office is the responsibility for the SFO.

Matthew Hooton  is even blunter.

Bonding a good start


The National Party’s plan to offer voluntary bonds  to health professionals in areas which are difficult to staff is a good start.

The policy is to start with doctors, nurses and midwives and extend it to other health professional groups.

I’d like to see it expanded further to cover other professions where there are skills shortages for instance rural vets and engineers.

Helping graduates who are working in specialties or districts with staff shortages is a much better use of tax payers’ money than spending more on undergarduates in any discipline who might not complete their studies and might not stay in New Zealand.

We don’t need to get dirty


Dear John,

Colin Espiner suggests National might have to fight Labour’s fire with some of its own:

Labour is so much better at attack politics than National. Perhaps it’s time Key followed Clark’s advice to her own troops and told them to “put on your hard hats”.

Attack on issues and policy (or lack of it) is one thing. Dishing out the dirt as Labour has been doing is quite another. Please don’t go there.

You should have more than enough facts for which you can hold Labour to account without following their example of dredging the depths of their imaginations for muck to rake.

They think chucking mud will work because they judge people by their own low standards. Please show us you have a much higher regard for the intelligence and perception of voters.

You will need to fight hard but you don’t have to fight dirty.

Mud sticks to the hand that throws it and New Zealand needs a Prime Minister with clean hands.

Yours in hope,


It’s none of our business


The grandfather of the toddler killed by a car reversing down a neighbour’s drive is appealing for the family to be left alone.

He said the family had been inundated with media calls and now wanted privacy.

He shouldn’t have to ask.

This is tragic for the dead child, his family, their friends, the teenage driver of the car and those close to him, but nothing more than the bare facts are any of our business.

That it happened was news. What if any charges may be laid against the driver will be news.  Anything else is nosiness.

What else is there to know? What these people are doing and how they are feeling? That’s their business. We don’t need to know any of that nor does the media have any right to ask.

The death of a public figure is of public interest and the funeral may be too.

But the media’s growing propensity to pry into the private grief of private people is not in the public interest, it’s merely prurience.

Chinese dispatch milk inspectors


The Chinese government is dispatching thousands of inspectors  to monitor producers in the wake of melamine contamination in milk which has left three children dead and more than 6000 ill.

How many stories are there ?





When Winston Peters first found himself in a hole he was silly enough to keep digging so that it got deeper and muddier.

But is the mud turning into quicksand not just for Peters and his party but for Labour too?

Green leader wants to legalise pot


No, this isn’t in New Zealand, it’s the leader of the Canadian Green Party, Elizabeth May, who wants to legalise marijuana.

Animals don’t stop for holidays


The Green Party’s industrial relations  policy was released yesterday and Sue Bradford  shows in commenting on it that she doesn’t understand how the economy works:

“Low paid workers and their families should not be left to unfairly carry the costs of climate change, rising fuel and food prices and the fall out from the US subprime crisis. . .

Um – who supported the legislation for the Emissions Trading Scheme that will impose more costs on everyone without reducing emissions? And where do employers get the extra money for higher wages when they too face higher costs that reduce the profits that are needed to pay the higher wages?

The Greens also wants another public holiday between Queens Birthday and Labour weekend.

There is no need for that. People are free to take a day from the generous entitlement already enshrined in law and tack it on to any weekend which suits them without adding another statutory holiday with the extra costs associated with it.


New Zealand already has 11 statutory holidays and four weeks annual leave which amounts to six working weeks off work.


Some firms shut down completely over the Christmas break so everyone is away at once, but not every business can do that so most of the holidays are taken in dribs and drabs over the course of the year.


If you employ four people you’ve got the equivalent of someone away every day for nearly half the year which puts an extra load on those still on deck; if you employ more than that you need an extra employee to cover for those on holiday.


We can’t tell our cows to stop producing milk on the eve of a long weekend and start again when the holiday’s over. So someone has to milk them, the milk has to be picked up and processed and the cost of doing all that is increased because workers are entitled to be paid time and a half if they work on a holiday.


We could organise things so we didn’t send stock to the freezing works on holidays, but if we did that the freezing workers would have nothing to kill when they resumed work the following day. And regardless of whether or not we’re sending stock away there’s other work to be done and those doing it on a holiday have to be paid extra to do it.


So we have to keep on doing what we do, seven days a week, holiday or not, but it would be better not just for us but the wider economy if we could carry on doing it without the added costs of another statutory holiday.


Some of the extra cost of the extra day’s holiday would be absorbed by the business but eventually some would get passed on to the consumers, most of whom will be workers who will then want a wage increase . . .





It’s fashion week …


. . . and apropos of that I wonder again why someone hasn’t come up with a shoe design which combines style and comfort because there’s no doubt high heels really do make your legs look better.

Even if you’re a cow:


Hat tip: 2 B Sophora

Laing anecdtoes


The ODT’s  coverage of Duncan Laing’s funeral has several anecdotes and includes: 

His protege, double Olympic gold medal winner Danyon Loader recalled the humour and his coach’s words of encouragement before a race: “Give it your all. Don’t worry if you drown. I’ll jump in and rescue you.”

“He gave me . . . the courage to go out there and try, even if it seemed impossible – to give it a go.”

51 more sleeps to go …


. .  . until the election and Labour’s still putting so much energy into throwing dirt they haven’t had time to tell us about their policy.

Passing on the brillante baton


How exciting and heart warming it was to check in to Homepaddock yesterday morning and discover I’d been blessed with a Brillante Blog award.

It was bestowed by Deborah who’s In A Strange Land  where she writes intelligently and thoughtfully on feminism, motherhood, parenting, work,  politics, life . . . and occasionally posts on food with photos that cause weight gain if you look at them too long.

Once you get a Brillante you’re invited to spread the happiness by passing it on to blogs you enjoy.

The rules are simple:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominator on her/his blog.

So after a day of contemplation my nominees in alphabetical order are:

Annie Fox the nom de blog of Anna Wolf whose posts are warm, witty, passionate, frank, down to earth and full of life which is all the more remarkable because she’s writing about dying.

Phillipa Stephenson at Dig-N -Stir . There is on-going discussion about the difference between journalism and blogging. Pip does both supberbly, writing concise, well researched posts which reflect her knowldege and interest in the subject matter, her ability as a wordsmith and, where appropriate, her wit.

Dim Post for showing you can take a dig without getting dirty; and because every day is improved by humour.

Ex-expat who makes me think with posts that are educational, enlightening and/or entertaining.

Will de Cleene at goNZofreakpower whose posts aren’t frequent but point me to places I wouldn’t find by myself.

Adam Smith at Inquiring Mind  earns the award for the quotes and cartoons of the day by themselves. But there’s more: well reasoned posts on a variety of topics with special mention for not confining himself to New Zealand.

Inventory 2 at Keeping Stock for the quanity, quality, consistency and variety of his posts with extra points for his enthusiasm and sense of humour.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog because I can’t go past the godfather of the NZ blogosphere. It helps that I share many of his views, but even when I don’t, I admire his well written, researched and reasoned posts. He’s open about his bias but never bigoted.

Dave Gee at Life from Right Field because we southerners must stick together and with special mention for originality and pictures.

Macdoctor if he employs the same wit, intelligence, reason and compassion in medicine which he displays in blogging I’d be very happy to be his patient.

Monkeywithtypewriter , not just a token primate, he’s also got perception and a sense of humour.

The team at No Minister because they often amuse, sometimes shock and enable me to feel moderate. They get a special mention for visuals too.

Not PC for the art and architecture.

NZBC goes for quality rather than quantity and gets bonus points for humour and orginality.

Poneke for the quality of posts in which he uses the skills that made him an award winning journalist. Besides, you’ve got to admire a bloke who’s besotted with buses.

Busted Blonde at Roarprawn because she’s upfront, sassy, witty, in the know and shares it with style.

Bernard Hickey at Show Me The Money because he takes numbers and adds words that make sense of them.

Queen Bee at The Hive : she’s got contacts, she gets the facts and she’s the miistress of succinct posts with sting.

The team at Tumeke! for variety and originality. Tim Selwyn deserves an honourable mention by himself for doing the monthly blogosphere rankings.

Well the rules did say at least seven.

P.S. I have an aversion to chain letters or anything resembling them and I can do the maths: if seven people send something to at least seven people who send it …. it won’t be long to run out of blogs which haven’t got it. So should any of you on whom I’ve bestowed a Brillante want to change the rules or ignore them altogether, I won’t be offended, you won’t be courting calamity, your family and pets will be safe and the sky won’t fall in.

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