Campaign openers

October 10, 2008

National and Labour launched their campaigns on TV and radio tonight.

Who do you trust?

Helen Clark:

I believe I can offer the leadership which will keep taking New Zealand ahead. I know there’s been an incredible transformation in this country’s economy and society during the years I’ve been prime minister. I want us to continue making the changes that will make our families strong and our small country great.”

John Key:

“New Zealand has always been a great place to live, work and raise a family but the past nine years has become a story of lost opportunities.

“When the economy was going okay the Government failed to take advantage of that and reduce taxes, increase growth and financial security.

“You work hard, you do the right thing, you pay your taxes and you try to raise your family responsibly. You are entitled to expect the same level of commitment and responsibility from your government.”

The contrast couldn’t be greater.

One is refusing to face up to the most serious economic crisis in decades, ignoring the fact her government squandered the good years and left us unprepared for the bad and with no plan to get us out of the mess.

The other recognises the problem and that while we have a responsibilities, so too does the government.

Over at The Hive, Queen Bee notes the contrast in styles:

One is of hope and positivism, the other is largely negative and supposedly about trust.

Fonterra donates $8.4m to Chinese charity

October 10, 2008

Fonterra has donated $8.4m ($US 5m) to a Chinese charity to establish a health care programme for mothers and babies in poor rural areas.

“We want to do what we can in China to help, particularly in areas around infant health and maternal issues,” Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier, told NZPA.

He today signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing with China Soong Ching Ling Foundation secretary Li Ning to fund the programme over five years.

It will set up community centres in rural and underveloped areas, with tools and resources to support prenatal and postnatal care, and provide information to ensure healthy pregnancies and babies.

Babies in poor and rural areas were some of the first reported to be affected by melamine-contaminated infant milkpowders sold by Fonterra’s Chinese joint venture, Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co, in which it held a 43 percent stake.

For more than a week reports on the numbers of babies who had become ill had remained at four dead, 12,892 infants in hospital, 104 with serious illness, and close to 40,000 others affected but not needing major treatment.

But Reuters reported this week the number of affected children has risen to nearly 94,000, 46,000 of them in Hebei province, where Sanlu is based, and neighbouring Henan province.

But Mr Ferrier said the $US5m donation was a gesture which should stand on its own as a reflection of the tragedy: it was not trying to link it to the milk contamination.

“Being associated with healthy food to infants…in the environment of this huge tragedy that has happened across the country, we thought that this would be a small gesture that Fonterra could show the broader Chinese community that we really care about children and their health,” he said.

“If we can help Soong Ching Ling Foundation particularly help infant health in rural areas where there’s the most poverty, that’s a great place to be helping out.”

The foundation already has a successful project for the safety of mothers and infants.

The new programme will build maternal and infant community hubs in China’s rural and underdeveloped communities, and will include exchange and teaching programmes to help give local health workers, obstetrical and paediatric doctors, and nurses in rural areas new opportunities to learn best practices in healthcare.

Fonterra has been the biggest exporter of milkpowder to China for 20 years and Mr Ferrier said it was strongly committed: “We are part of Chinese society”.

Sanlu was one of 22 companies which had its milk poisoned by melamine and because it is seen as a Chinese problem, Fonterra’s reputation has not been affected. However, as a shareholder, I am pleased the company is making this donation to help the people and I hope that the best practices include the advice that breast milk is best for babies.

Fairfax not in contempt

October 10, 2008

High Court judge Tony Randerson and senior Judge Warwick Gendell have dismissed charges  of contempt of court laid against Fairfax Media over publishing transcripts of secret police recordings in relation to last year’s terror raids in the Ureweras.

Bomber comments on this at Tumeke!

Views on the poll

October 10, 2008

Tim Selwyn at Tumeke! says no-one has told Centrebet about the latest Roy Morgan poll because the odds on Helen Clark winning have gone out to $4.50.

The Hive  notes The Greens & Act have earned their improved ratings.

No Minister   says this poll shows the Maori Party holds the balance of power.

Inquiring Mind  hopes it’s a rogue result.

Jafapete  says it’s game on.

Roarprawn also notes the Maori Party are king or queen makers.

Matthew Hooton has a poll of polls which is a little more comforting.

Cicero  is sceptical.

Frogblog thinks Roy Morgan is a sweet talker but wonders if the poll’s a rogue.

Tim Watkin says it’s out of step with other recent polls but John Key may have put an unlosable election at risk by trying not to rock the boat.

Bomber sees a seachange

SFO – no NZ First fraud

October 10, 2008

The Serious Fraud Office investigation has found that there was no fraud involved in the doantions to New Zealand First from Sir Robert Jones and the Vela brothers.

However, Director Grant Lidell said other laws may have been broken.

Everyone said the polls would tighten . . .

October 10, 2008

And the latest Roy Morgan one certainly has.

National’s down 7 to 40.5% and Labour’s up 1 to 37.5%.

The Green Party is up 2.5 to 9%, NZ First is down 1 to 4%, Act is on 3.5% (up 2), the Maori Party is up .5% to 2%, Progressive is up 1 to 1% United is up .5 to 1% and others are up .5 to 1.5%.

While I don’t like the result, I’m even more puzzled by the confidence rating:

The Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating at 108.5 points (up 5.5 points) has risen as the election campaign has begun with 48% (up 4%) of New Zealanders saying the country is “heading in the right direction” compared to 39.5% (down 1%) that say the country is “heading in the wrong direction.”

The Roy Morgan New Zealand Consumer Confidence Rating (102.3 points, down 7.6 points) however has halted its recent climb dropping sharply as only 39% (down 7%) of New Zealanders say now is a “good time to buy” major household items.

The poll was taken between September 22 and October 5 which means it finished before the PREFU which showed the dreadful state of the nation’s books.

If anyone still thinks the country is heading in the right direction after that it is indeed proof that people ought to be required to pass a comprehension test before they’re allowed to vote.

Nats campaign opening on You Tube

October 10, 2008

The Naitonal Party campaign opening is on You Tube.

It will screen on TV 1 at at 7.10 and be broadcast on RadioNZ Naitonal?) at 8.40.

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