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?


Fonterra forecast down

September 24, 2008

Fonterra has anounced a final payout for the past season of $7.90 a kilo of milk solids with a retention of 24 cents which will give farmers $7.66 in the hand.

That good news is tempered by the news that the forecast for the current season is $6.60 which is 40 cents down from the $7 pay out which had been suggested earlier.

If my memory is correct (and I’m open to correction because it might not be), the average dairy farm’s costs of production are about $4.80 – $5.00 per kilo of milk solids before interest and tax.


Benson Pope’s valedictory may not be last speech

September 24, 2008

The ODT reports (not on line) that David Benson Pope is still neither confirming nor denying rumours he’ll seek the Dunedin South seat as an indpendent or for another party. But:

It is understoood his valedictory speech in the House tomorrow will emphasise the farewell speech is his last as a Labour MP.

That of course begs the question, will there be other speeches as an MP but not a Labour one?

Delaying an announcement continues to give him publicity so he has everything to gain by delaying an announcement and he’s dropped and he’s dropped hints that he will seek the seat again.

In May he said he was open to offers from other parties although in June he turned down one from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party .


Personality politics poor tool

September 24, 2008

The ODT is not impressed  by Labour’s approach to the election:

Labour is using the politics of personality as its principal tool.

Predictably, its leaders, all former academics, also argue in favour of their political management experience over the past nine years, emphasising the considerable political inexperience of National Party leader and retired millionaire money trader, John Key.

But Labour has so far provided no policies to speak of to assist voters considering choices for the next three years, whereas National’s strategy has been to look ahead, emphasise future prospects and needs, and to generally give an optimistic flavour to its policies, although they lack much useful detail.

What has been the exceptional feature is Labour’s personal attacks on National’s leader, led right from the top.

The purpose of the attacks has been to try to destroy Mr Key’s credibility by linking him with global events, a tactic reminiscent of the smear politics of the worst years of Muldoonism.

The tactic is intended to arouse fear in individuals who are vulnerable to such suggestions or who do not follow politics or history closely. . .

. . . Labour is anxious to destroy any expectation voters have that National might get enough votes to govern alone.

It is a faint hope, despite what the opinion polls might be saying, but it does exist. . .

. . . And the latest smear from Dr Cullen attempting to suggest Mr Key had used his privileged position to benefit from share trading in Tranz Rail in 2003 is part of the strategy to cultivate an air of doubt and uncertainty.

The word “trust” still resonates with meaning for the age group which regards with suspicion younger risk-takers who make their millions from the mysterious manipulation of currencies.

That age group is also most fearful about the immediate future, be it health needs, pension income, personal security, and the cost of living, and is being targeted precisely because antagonistic campaigning strikes a positive response with the sector.

The emphasis on the negative rather than on providing a design for the future health and security of the nation is not a promising beginning to the campaign.


Psychics spurn sceptic’s challenge

September 24, 2008

The ODT headline sums it up beautifully: No takers for dollars versus sense

Stuart Landsborough, founder of Wanaka’s Puzzling World and long time sceptic has offered a $400,000 challenge to the psychics on TV’s Sensing Murder but they’re spurning the opporutnity.

Perhaps they can sense they’ll lose.

I won’t risk my blood pressure by explaining why they’re frauds because Poneke has already done it here.


High price for free publicity

September 24, 2008

When you’re running for election almost any publicity is good and free publicity is even better.

But Act’s Dunedin South candidate, Colin NIcholls, may well feel that having his car stolen and torched was too high a price to pay for a photo and story in the ODT.


45 more sleeps . . .

September 24, 2008

. . . until the election and it’s official – politicians are dog tucker.


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