Southland netball champs


Southland scored an upset 56-45 win against Auckland Waitakere in the National netball championship.

It’s been a long time between drinks – they last won the final 49 years ago.

Record price paid for N.O. farm


A 105.6 hectare farm on the Lower Waitaki Plains has sold for $5,210,000.

That’s a little under $50,000 a hectare which PGG Wrightson real estate agent Dave Finlay says is a record for land in North Otago.

The property is spray irrigated from the Lower Waitaki irrigation scheme and had been a cropping farm. It was bought by a diary farmer who plans to use it for dairy support.

Melamine-tainted milk in Russia


Milk powder containing melamine has been found in the Siberian city  of Tomsk.

“The potentially dangerous melamine was found in a Russian-made product,” the source at the local consumer rights regulator told RIA Novosti.

Earlier in the week Russia banned the import of all Chinese made food containing milk.

Milk-tea recalled in Australia


Kirin milk-tea made is the fourth Chinese-made product to be recalled in Australia after it was found to contain melamine.

The recall of the blended drink follows the withdrawal from sale of the milk-based sweet White Rabbit, Cadbury chocolate eclairs made in China and Lotte Koala Biscuits.

Which MP . . .


 . . . would be most likely to help an old lady across the road?

That’s the question in today’s Herald character poll and so far  John Key leads with 32% of the 4495 votes cast.

Saturday’s smiles


Some of these are punfully bad . . .

A backward poet writes inverse.

 A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

 Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.

 Practice safe eating – always use condiments.

 Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

 A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.

 A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

 Sea captains don’t like crew cuts.

 Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?


Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.

 Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.

 When two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I.

 A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two tired.

 A will is defined as a dead giveaway.

 Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

 In a democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your Count votes.

 She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but broke it off.

 A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

 If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

 With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

 Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft, and I’ll show you A flat minor.

 When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

 The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

 A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

 You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

 Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.

 He often broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

 Every calendar’s days are numbered.

 A lot of money is tainted – It taint yours and it taint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

 He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

 The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

 Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

 Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.

 Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

 When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

 Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

 Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

 Acupuncture is a jab well done.

 Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of de feet.

 The poor guy fell into a glass grinding machine and made a spectacle of himself.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society


If you read only one book this year let it be The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Set in 1946, the correspondence between Juliet Ashton, her publisher and friends tells a heartwarming story of the Guernsey Islanders during World War II and its aftermath.

It is a beautifully written tale of life under occupation which made me sad, made me think, and made me smile.

I normally read quickly, but I savoured this because I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want it to end, and sadly it will be Mary Ann’s only book. Shortly after she submitted the manuscript to a publisher she became ill, she died before it was published and her niece, Annie Burrows did the editing for her.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer, published by Allen & Unwin, 2008.


TGLPPS reminded me of Appointment with Venice  by Jerrard Tickell published by Hodder & Stoughton, 1951 which became one of my favourites after I found it on my parents’ bookshelf many years ago. My daughter and a niece also enjoyed it so it hasn’t dated.  If you like one, I’m sure you’ll like the other.

Wall St mergers


Watch for the following mergers on Wall Street: –


Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace Co. will merge and become: Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.


Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers join forces and become: Poly, Warner Cracker.


3M will merge with Goodyear and become: MMMGood.


Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become: ZipAudiDoDa .


FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and become: FedUP.


Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become: Fairwell Honeychild.


Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become: PouponPants.


Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become: Knott NOW!


Victoria ‘s Secret and Smith & Wesson will merge under the new name: TittyTittyBangBang.

I found this in Baker & Associates weekly AgLetter which in addition to at least one joke contains news and analysis on farming and the wider agricultural industry. You can subscribe to it here.

Law must be in our own hands – Franks


Stephen Franks has a very sensible view on taking the law into our own hands in the wake of the story of a store owner who was charged after doing that.

He writes:

It is long past time for the police to bury that stupid phrase – ‘taking the law into your own hands’. In our own hands is where the law always was, and must be. It must be something all of us are willing to uphold. In this stretched out land there will never be enough police to protect the weak from the strong if the police are the only ones trying. The law can only prevail when those tempted to prey on the weak know that the weak have behind them not just the police, but an entire community.

You can read the rest of his post here.

Vandals at the gate


Well, not at the gate but they’re getting at the hoardings.

Someone’s given Jacqui Dean a moustache and a monocle.

But it could be much worse:

Hat Tip: Roarprawn

At risk kids not just big city problem


The Southland Times reports that more Invercargill children are “at risk”, with reports of 11 year olds sleeping in skips and an increase in under-age pregnancies.

Aurora College principal Robyn Hickman said at-risk youth problems people thought existed only in South Auckland and Porirua had come to Invercargill.

“There’s been more serious offences at a younger age than what we’ve ever noticed before.

“It’s not just an educational problem, it’s a wider societal issue.” At-risk youth have behaviour problems, lack social skills, play truant, abuse substances, can be violent and harm themselves.

It is a societal problem with a variety of causes. One of these is intergenerational family dysfunction

Invercargill truancy officer Vicki Paul said kids were falling through gaps in the system. “Babies are bringing up babies, for god’s sake.” Problems started when families did not get the right support and that was when crime came into the picture, she said.

If parents aren’t equipped to look after themselves there is almost no chance that they’ll look after their children. Each generation of dysfunction exacerbates the problem and the longer it’s left to address the causes the more difficult it will be to turn the tide.

And while it’s a societal issue rather than an educational one, poor literacy and numeracy are part of the cause so better education must be part of the solution.

Kindy gate latch saga goes on


No-one’s saying much after yesterday’s meeting between Cottage Kindergarten, Invercargill City Council and Building and Housing representatives over the impasse over the height of the kindy’s gate latch.

The kindy won’t lower the latch because it will put children at risk and the council won’t give a code compliance certificate until its lowered to provide disabled access.

Earlier in the week Southland Kindergarten Association president Paddy Lewis was outspoken on the issue. When contacted for comment yesterday he described the meeting as “constructive” and “amicable” .

He expected the Department of Building and Housing to give a decision in a few weeks.

It’s a very poor reflection on the country and its laws when it takes weeks for common sense to prevail.

Sharing CEO sensible step


The appointment of a single chief executive for the Otago and Southland DIstrict Health Boards is a very sensible step.

Brian Rousseau who was the Otago CEO and has been interim CEO for Southland since last year will take on the joint role which is a first for district health board management.

The chairmen of both boards say the appointment enhances the strong commitment to regional collaboration over services, but neither is suggesting the boards should amalgamate.

I think that would be a sensible aim. There would be economies of scale and it would be welcomed by the many people on the heath board borders who want to use Dunedin services but have to use Southland’s and vice versa.

Otago chair Richard Thomsom said:

The appointment did not change anything fundamentally for the boards, but would make it easier to further develop a regional focus on services.

“As Brian would say, it’s difficult to argue with yourself when you’re the CEO of both boards.”

The boards have two services in common, Southern Blood and Cancer and cardiac surgery, and several senior management staff work across both organisations.

Two of the boards’ advisory committees share membership.

Southland chairman Dennis Cairns said the boards faced the problem of catering for populations spread over a large area.

The average number of health service users over the country per square kilometre was 13.1, compared with 5.6 in Otago and 2.8 in Southland.

In an area such as Counties Manukau there could be one hospital catering for 250,000 people, but in Otago and Southland there were seven hospitals.

It’s always going to be more expensive to treat people scattered over a large area than if they’re concentrated in one place. A closer working relationship between Otago and Southland ought to ensure that less is spent on overheads leaving more for services.

The Southland Times’ report is here.

Only 35 sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and  John Key has proved he can cook.

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