Compulsory voting?

September 26, 2008

The Herald has a readers poll asking if voting should be compulsory.

So far 467 people have voted, 56% of whom say yes.

I’m a definite no because while you can lead people to democracy but you can’t force them to participate.

Democracy gives you the right to vote and freedom enables you to choose to not use it.


September 26, 2008

The first of this season’s asparagus has arrived.

Grill or steam it until it is al dente then serve with Whitestone Windsor Blue

If you want to go to a little more effort, grate some of the cheese and roll it with the asparagus in thin sliced wholemeal bread – eat as is or toasted.

Add a glass of pinot noir, perhaps Rockburn (thanks to the recommendation of Rayinnz).

The sit back, relax and savour the taste of spring.


P.S. Cheese is protein and calcium, asparagus is a green vegetable, wine is nearly fruit – it’s healthy!

Pundit launched

September 26, 2008

A new on-line daily current affairs magazine, Pundit,  aims to:

. . . start an intelligent conversation about New Zealand’s place in the world and its future.

Its founders are: 

Tim Watkin (former deputy editor of the Listener and blogger for the Guardian in Britain) and Eleanor Black (former deputy editor at Next and associate editor of California magazine) came up with the Pundit concept in late 2007, while living in San Francisco. They joined forces with broadcaster Ian Fraser in early 2008 and together the trio launched the site in September.

Other contributers are David Beatson, Dr Jon Johansson David Lewis, Jacqueline Rowath and Jane Young,

Hat Tip: No Right Turn

Clark won’t go the distance

September 26, 2008

Bill English is calling on Helen Clark to let voters know if she’s planning to remain as Labour’s.

Helen Clark will only commit to leading Labour ‘into’ a fourth term. She will offer no assurances about what happens after that.“The public can only conclude that if Helen Clark wins the election, New Zealand will have a different Prime Minister by the end of a three year term.
 He refers to a radio interview in which she refused to give a commitment:

PRESENTER: If you win the ah, this election, if you, if Labour wins this election, will you stick around for a full three-year term.
CLARK: Well someone asked that at the press conference today too and I said I have no retirement plans. Here I am, a fit and healthy woman still our doing the back country skiing and enjoying life.
PRESENTER: But no retirement plans isn’t the same as a categorical assurance that people might need, Labour voters might need or voters might need to vote for Labour this election knowing that you will remain for a full three-year term…
CLARK: Well ah…
PRESENTER: …can you give that categorical assurance.
CLARK: Well ah, I’m going into it obviously saying I’m looking to lead Labour for a fourth term and…
PRESENTER: Full fourth term.
CLARK: Well I’m looking to lead for a fourth term ah, and that’s as much as I can say. I mean I’ve got good health and good energy at the moment. Who knows ah, things can change on you but right now I’m looking for the fourth term.
PRESENTER: It’s not quite categorical. It’s a dead…
CLARK: Well…
PRESENTER: I’m looking for an assurance that, that if Labour win a thir [sic] a fourth term, that you would be there for the full three years or as long as Labour stayed in power.
CLARK: Well I’m not announcing my intentions for the election of 2011 Bill. That would be silly.
CLARK: I’m announcing that I’m on for leading Labour into a fourth term. I have no, underline, no retirement plans.
PRESENTER: And leading Labour out of a fourth term
CLARK: Oh well ah, leading Labour to a fifth term. I haven’t made the decision whether I’ll lead Labour for a fifth term but what I’m saying is there’s an election in eight weeks’ time, and you’ve all got lots of notice, and ah, we’ll debate the shape of the policies of the fourth term Labour-led government.

I presume this is the interview Bill Ralston referred to when he blogged:

On Friday on my Radio Live Drive show I asked her, if she did win an historic fourth term, would she serve the entire term of three years as Prime Minister?
There was a lot of waffling from Helen about her being physically fit and not thinking about retiring.

I pressed the PM, saying “not contemplating or thinking about retiring” was not the same as assuring voters she would stay the course in any fourth term.

She did not give a categorical answer.

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in a name?

September 26, 2008
Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
Socrates – (469 BC – 399 BC)


 David Fletcher

Walking Inside a Grahame Sydney Painting

September 26, 2008

We drove from Wanaka to Millers Flat yesterday then backtracked to Alexandra and took the road from Omakau through Lauder and Becks to the Pig Route.

That’s all Grahame Sydney country which prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem by Diane Brown. It’s from her collection learning to lie together, published by Godwit, 2004.

Walking Inside a Grahame Sydney Painting


That uninterrupted blue, then the mountains, snow

rapidly disappearing on this first real day of summer

and closer, another range, lower and crouching, shadows

draped over brown hides, and in the foreground, fields

wheat-coloured, rolling, legendary as the sky. Inside,


the sun stalks the angle of the dormer window, bleaching

clothes thrown not artfully enough on a chair. My lover

and I are writers, after all, and careless of  fabrics and folds.

I tell Grahame I’d use this but I’m not sure how

my poems are usually peopled, crowded with conversations


and this view is too large to contain in words.

Upstairs, windows divide the landscape into bite-sized

chunks. Perhaps if I take it one line at a time?

Already I notice I’ve forgotten three power poles

sprouting in the paddocks opposite. Lines I can’t see


but can imagine, ushering in the rest of the world.

– Diane Brown –



Do we trust the scales?

September 26, 2008

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