Staffed not stuffed

September 24, 2008

Macdoctor doesn’t like National’s health board so he’s come up with a much better one of his own.

I’m having technical difficulties and can’t copy it so you’ll have to pop over to see it for yourself.

Update: tech problems sorted:

Sun cools

September 24, 2008

The sun is cooler  than it’s been for 50 years, but solar scientists say there’s no evidence to link this with weather or long term climate change.

Thanks Bob

September 24, 2008

Bob Clarkson  has declined the opportunity to give a valedictory speech but will release a written farewell statement tomorrow.

He may well be rememberd best for being less than circumspect.

But we owe him our thanks because had he not ousted WInston Peters at the last election, Peters wouldn’t have taken the electoral petition which led to him asking Owen Glenn for a donation which has finally exposed him as a hypocrite and a lier.

How much cash, how many cards?

September 24, 2008

Zentiger at NZ Conservative notes people using EFTPOS to pay tiny amounts and wonders how much cash people carry.

I was doing a door to door collection for Plunket a couple of years ago and one very apologetic woman, whom I knew, said she had absolutely no cash in the house.

This surprised me because I have a money box on the laundry window sill for the coins which end up in the wahsing machine, and another in the bedroom for those which fall on the floor. So even when my wallet is cashless I have change in the house and I always have some coins and maybe a small note in the car for emergencies.

But the need for cash certainly isn’t as great as it was before we had EFTPOS and hole-in-the-wall banking. Way back then you had to get your money from banks and they closed at 3pm on Friday and didn’t open until 10am on Monday.

As the amount of cash people have on hand has fallen the number of cards we carry has risen.

This came up in discussion with friends recently so we all did a count – the winner had 32 cards in his wallet including EFTPOS, credit, swipe, membership and loyalty cards and all but a couple were current and, he said, necessary.

No doubt there are security and privacy issues, but it would be much easier if we could programme one card with all the information we needed.

Either that, or just put a bar code on our foreheads 🙂

Who employs NZ First staffer?

September 24, 2008

Further to the story two post earlier of the Maori Party being heavied to vote against censuring Winston Peters, I have a question about this from Pita Sharples:

Dr Sharples said he was not only taken aback by the personal attack from Winston Peters, but was disappointed at the personal lobbying by a NZ First staffer and a government Minister over the past weekend to influence the Maori Party’s decision prior to the vote.

Is the NZ First staffer employed by the party or parliamentary services?

If it’s the the former, it was unethical. If it’s the latter it was unethical and s/he has stepped well over the line between working for an MP and doing political work for a  party which no parliamentary services employee should ever cross.

San Lu scandal cost Fonterra $139m

September 24, 2008

The poisoned milk which contaminated infant formula produced by San Lu, in which Fonterra has a 43% stake is one of the reasons this season’s milk payout is lower than expected.

The $139 million loss is only money and to give the company some credit it made this clear when making the announcement today.

Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden said: “We are certainly not putting the financial consequences ahead of our primary priority of consumer safety. We are focusing all our efforts on what Fonterra can best do to work with the Chinese authorities and help get safe dairy products to Chinese consumers.”

The $139 million estimate is made up of the cost of recalling products plus Fonterra’s “anticipated loss of San Lu brand value”.

Mr Van der Heyden said: “At yesterday’s board meeting, the directors discussed the San Lu tragedy in depth and were fully supportive of the approach taken to date by Fonterra management and staff.

“Throughout this crisis, Fonterra’s paramount concern has been for the health and safety of Chinese consumers and recalling contaminated product as quickly and effectively as possible in the Chinese environment. The scale of this tragedy has been truly shocking and our heartfelt sympathies go out to all the affected children and their families.”

He described the latest revelations that San Lu management were investigating complaints of sick infants as early as eight months before the San Lu Board and Fonterra were first informed on August 2 as “deeply concerning”.

“That Fonterra was not informed earlier is frankly appalling,” he said.

It is, but Fonterra must also question its own actions and strategy in China.

The poisoned milk as an act of sabotage. But that should not have been unexpected and the company should have taken extra measures to safegaurd the production chain in light of recent quality problems with Chinese products.

 Inquiring Mind has a list from the Financial Times of product recalls in China in the past two years which includes dumplings containing pesticide, toothpaste containing diethylene glycol,  and pet food which poisoned animals.

Fonterra’s first priority now is to do what it can to help the victims of this tragedy.

It then owes it to its customers, its shareholders, its own and New Zealand’s reputation to ensure the very high standards it requires in the production and manufacture of its produce here are maintained in any ventures it undertakes elsewhere.

Other views on this issue: Inquiring Mind  comments on a Wall Street Journal story; Poneke looks at international coverage; Macdoctor says it’s likely further deaths will be supressed; No Minister  sees a political angle and Kiwi Polemicist gives some background information.

NZ First, Labour heavied Maori Party

September 24, 2008

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says a New Zealand first staff member and a government minister tried to influence the way his party voted on the censure motion against Winston Peters.

Today Dr Sharples said he was “disappointed” over attempts to influence his party.

“I personally had two separate phone calls from a senior minister urging me to vote in favour of Winston, and suggesting that there would be unpleasant repercussions from Maori people if I didn’t,” he said in a statement.

“Both (fellow co-leader) Tariana Turia and myself were disgusted with this kind of activity, aimed at perverting the course of justice and fair play.”

Does Labour still want to campaign on trust?

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