Temper, temper


Oh dear, tantrums aren’t pretty, especially if you have one while accusing someone who didn’t have one of having one.

Helen Clark tripped herself up in the heat of the moment last night. It wasn’t good but she’s made it much worse by trying to explain it away with an attack on John Key:

“The fact he didn’t burst out crying on the set probably counted for him,” she said during a Radio Live question and answer session this morning.

Later in the day she didn’t resile from her criticism telling reporters that expectations around Mr Key’s performance before the debate were low and; “the fact he didn’t collapse with a stress attack on the set probably gave him marks”.

Tears, stress attack? How scary does she think she is? Is this what happens to other people who come up against her?

TVNZ’s phone poll declared him ahead by a long way.

Miss Clark said the poll was worthless as it was self-selecting and there was a charge.

“That hasn’t been the feedback we received. You’ve got to remember to call in on an 0900 number it costs money.”

That’s a fair comment, but internet access cost too and look at this:

Who won last night’s leaders’ debate?

Helen Clark (13060 votes, 48.5%)

John Key (13268 votes, 49.3%)

It was a tie (592 votes, 2.2%)


Back to the tantrum:

At one point Miss Clark made a comment that Mr Key may shout at home but he wouldn’t shout her down.

Today she said she was not accusing him of yelling at his family.

“What I meant was he was having a tantrum he was completely out of control trying to shout me down…”

There’s only been one person having a tantrum over this:

Last night Miss Clark said she did not think the campaign was bitter and today said she was just offering a professional analysis of how it went.

A spokesman for Mr Key said he would leave it to the public to decide.

“New Zealanders will judge the result of the debate.”

Last night asked about his inexperience Mr Key said he just did his best.

“But I gave it my best shot and they (the public) will have a good sense of where a National government would take New Zealand.”

Keeping Stock thinks Clark is showing her true colours.

No MInister says Diddums!

Monkeywith typewriter awards her a soper.

Inquiring Mind suggests the tany could be a tipping point.

Scrubone thinks she can’t handle losing.

Hey Babe!


Labour supporters were running round the Women’s Expo in Dunedin at the weekend with badges saying: “Helen’s a babe”.

They might have been confused by the younger woman who’s on Labour’s billboards.

Or, as National’s Dunedin South candidate Conway Powell said, it’s an acronym for Bloody Awful at Building the Economy.

Spot the difference


Successive Australian Finance Minsiters have run surpluses, given tax cuts year after year and had money left over for a rainy day which it’s now using to help its citizens.

Michael Cullen has run surpluses, only now and with great reluctance given small tax cuts and has nothing left over now the storm’s broken.

It could be a long wait


PGG Wrightson is waiting for confidence and stability to return to world equity markets so it can get the funding to enable it to take a 50% stake in SIlver Fern Farms.

Chairman of the rural servicing company, Craig Norgate, said banks were on side but equity markets were not yet stable enough to secure the $110 million needed for its required first instalment of the $220 million half share in the Dunedin meat company.

“We are still committed to making it happen in the manner approved by shareholders. It’s just not easy at the moment.”

He was not sure how long it would take to secure the funding, as that was out of his control.

Which way’s up?


Edna appeared in rural papers for years. Some criticised the cartoons as being anti-women, but as this one shows it was usually her husband who came off second best.

It’s from Edna Four, by Malcom Evans, published by Moa-Merc Press, 1984.

This could make a vegetarian of you


The owner for an English fast-food business has been banned from every operating a food business again after he was found preparing a kebab with the body of a dead employee near by.

Sometimes Nanny is right – fast food is bad for you.

And what else would he do?


Anderton confirms he’ll serve a full three-year term  if re-elected, even if he’s not in government.

That’s another compelling reason to persuade the good people of Wigram to support Marc Alexander, the National candidate, who has been wearing out his shoe leather door knocking the electorate for months.

. . . for worse



Apropos the previous post, another thought for World Rural Women’s Day from The Best of Jock by David Hensaw, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

For better, for . . .


In a past life I used to write a weekly column for the ODT on life viewed from the home paddock (from whence came the name of this blog). In honour of World Rural Women’s Day I’ve dug out the first one I wrote:


Some of us are rural by birth, some become rural because of the career we choose and some become rural by marriage.


If like me you’re in the latter group you’ll know that the marriage vows have extra meaning for those of us who choose farmers, because when you take on a man of the land you don’t get just the man, but the land and the lifestyle as well.


To love and to cherish applies not only to your farmer but his farm and everything that goes with it. In sickness and in health includes stock and machinery. For better or worse encompasses the weather and markets. All of these have a very real bearing on whether it’s for richer or poorer; and anyone with dreams of one day retiring to town should determine exactly what’s meant by “til death us do part”.


It didn’t take me long to realise what I’d let myself in for when I’d said, “I do.” During his speech at the wedding breakfast our best man mentioned he’d been surprised to see the groom throwing his gumboots into the car before they left for the church. When asked why, my soon to be husband had replied, “I’m irrigating tomorrow,”


 I thought he was joking – until early next morning when I was woken to accompany him as he checked the irrigator before we left on our honeymoon.


Still, I should be grateful we had a honeymoon at all. Had it not been for a drought we’d have been in the middle of harvest. As it was we managed to snatch a long weekend away between a stock sale on Friday and drafting lambs on Tuesday.


And there were plenty more breaks ahead – two days for the Lincoln field days; three for a Young Farmers’ conference and four at the Young Farmer of the Year.


After all that, perhaps my farmer could be excused his reaction to my request for a real holiday for holiday’s sake and not something to do with farming. He looked at me in hurt surprise and said, “Life’s one long holiday when you enjoy what you’re doing”.


That’s when I had to confess I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about my new life.


The position of farmer’s wife hadn’t come with a job description but it went without saying that having accepted the post I was responsible for feeding farm workers, shearers, stock agents, orphan lambs and other strays – two or four legged.


Then there was the stream of phone calls to deal with, messages to run and the other minor but time consuming tasks that fall to your lot when you live with someone who lives on the job.


On top of that there was housework and with the house had come a garden that was big enough to be a full time job in itself. So it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough to do or even that I objected to doing any of it, I just felt something was lacking.


Before we’d married I’d had rosy visions of working together. It didn’t occur to me that my farmer had been running his business for several years alone and had no need for an assistant with a lot more enthusiasm than expertise.


There was the odd occasion when he wanted me to lend a hand but that wasn’t always successful. Take the day he asked me to help draft the ewes before lambing. It sounded so easy: he’d send the sheep up the race and if he said “full” I was to let them go straight ahead and if he said, “empty” I’d send them to the right.


It sounded so simple, even a fool could cope, and I did at first; but then a couple of ewes ran up together and when I’d sorted them out there were three more charging up the race. I wasn’t sure whether they were full or empty and by the time I’d worked it out there were several more coming at me. In the heat of the moment I forgot whether full was to the right or straight ahead…


It was about then that my farmer started yelling and I replied, “Woof!”


I suppose it was understandable that subsequent offers of help were met with a “thanks, but no thanks”. Or “if you really want to do something you could get us some afternoon tea because people are best doing what they do best.”


Fortunately soon after that I was offered a job as rural reporter on the local radio station. That let me combine the skills I’d been trained to use with my new found country contacts and left me with no time to hanker about a more active role on the farm.


But I’d learnt a valuable lesson from my time at home and put it to good use when winter approached. Our fire wood supply was getting low so I suggested my farmer might find time to cut some more.


“Why don’t you do it,” he replied. “After all you’re the one who says women can do anything.”


“Ah yes,” I retorted, “But you’d do it so much better than I could and thanks to you I’ve learnt that people are best doing the things they do best.”


New ministry


Labour’s established yet another ministry with all the associated bureaucracy and red tape.

It’s the Ministry for Short Showers and it will be headed by Shane Jones.




I’m not sure this is what the people promoting World Rural Women’s Day meant by honouring.

The cartoon is from The Best of Jock by David Henshaw, published Hodder and Stoughton, 1983.

Shouting at home!


TV1 keeps repeating the shot of Helen Clark telling John Key “You might get away with shouting at home but you’re not going to shout over me.”

Oh dear. It didn’t sound good the first time and it doesn’t improve with repetition.

Rural Women’s Day


It’s World Rural Women’s Day  when the contribution women make to rural communities around the world is honoured.

The day was launched at a conference in 1995 and it aims to acknowledge the role of women because:

Rural women the world over play a major role in ensuring food security and in the development and stability of the rural areas. Yet, with little or no status, they frequently lack the power to secure land rights or to access vital services such as credit, inputs, extension, training and education. Their vital contribution to society goes largely unnoticed. World rural Women’s Day intends to change this by bringing rural women out of obscurity at least once a year – to remind society how much they owe to rural women and to give value and credit to their work.

Some of these concerns, such as food security, land rights and lack of status are more relevant to developing countries than New Zealand. But rural women are a minority so I’ll be making the most of the opportunity to come out of obscurity today.

24 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and the Herald commentators gave the TVNZ debate to John Key 2-1;

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