Where will it lead?


First it was guarantees for banks and the finance companies.

Pop over to goNZo Freakpower to see where it might lead.

Never argue with a woman who reads


One morning a bloke returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, his decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, ‘Good morning, Madam. What are you doing?’

‘Reading a book,’ she replies, (thinking, ‘Isn’t that obvious?’)

‘You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area,’ he informs her

‘I’m sorry, officer, but I’m not fishing. I’m reading’

‘Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.. I’ll have to take you in and write you up.’

‘For reading a book?’ she replies,

‘You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area,’ he informs her again,

‘I’m sorry, officer, but I’m not fishing. I’m reading’

Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I’ll have to take you in and write you up.’

‘If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault,’ says the woman.

‘But I haven’t even touched you,’ says the game warden.

‘That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.’

‘Have a nice day madam,’ and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It’s likely she can also think.


Trimming the fat


Running the country is like running a household with bigger numbers.

When you’re facing difficult times you have to cut the luxuries and reassess the necessities.

John Key is promising that National will take that approach to public spending if it leads the next government.

Mr Key today used a Dunedin campaign stop to detail how National intends to get better value for money out of the public service.

He said a “Cabinet Expenditure Control Committee” would be set up, which all departmental chief executives would have to report to after reviewing their spending “line-by-line”.

“Based on the information it receives, the committee will be able to initiate in-depth spending reviews of particular areas of government administration to ensure the best value for taxpayers and users of public services.”

Mr Key reiterated National’s plan to cap the size of the core bureaucracy.

He also said the party would limit new spending in its first budget to priorities identified in the election campaign and priorities that could not be deferred.

“In the period immediately ahead, families and businesses will have no option but to behave with restraint and will be entitled to see similar restraint reflected in the operation of government agencies funded by their taxes,” he said.

“This is a time in which the public sector must play its part by seeking to improve productivity and the delivery of core services to the public.”

New Zealand’s productivity is well below what it could and should be.

One of the reasons for that is the dead weight of a bloated bureaucracy, not just for what it costs us directly but for the indirect costs of the regulations and red tape they impose on the rest of us to justify their existance.

Trust them to lie


National Party MP for Invercargill Eric Roy has had enough of Labour’s lies.

No-one expects their political opponentst to praise or promote them and their policies , but there is a big difference between criticism and lies – especially in an election which is supposed to be about trust.

Hat Tip: Roarprawn

You be the judge


In the old days we had to turn up at a meeting of get a report second hand via reports in the media.

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology we can hear what people say and see how they look while they’re saying it on any computer with access to the internet.

So did John Key have a tantrum in the TVNZ leaders’ debate on Tuesday or was Helen Clark having one yesterday?

Keeping Stock  provides the video of the debate so you can be the judge.

MMP puts party dogma before people


MMP was supposed to improve representation and if you judge it by the greater diversity of parties, gender and ethnicity in parliament it has.

But that has come at the high cost of poorer representation for people, especially in the provinces. There are more Members of Parliament but fewer of them are constituency MPs and they represent far bigger areas.

Most people aren’t particularly interested in politics but they do want to know they have an MP who can listen to them in their electorates and speak for them in Wellington.

All electorate MPs represent parties but once elected they work for all the people in their electorates, they deal with local issues and they help local people.

The importance of this is rarely acknowldeged. Most political commentators are based in Wellington and only see what the MPs do in parliament so that is what gets reported. 

I’m not blaming the media for that because a lot of the work MPs do locally is for individuals who’ve come up against burureacratic brick walls and it is confidential.

Not everyone understands the importance of this work and this was made very clear at a meet the candidates meeting in Alexandra yesterday.

It was addressed by Jacqui Dean, who is seeking the seat for National, David Parker who is seeking it for Labour, the Kiwi Party’s Dunedin South candidate, Phillip Wescombe and Pat Scott from the Green Party who was standing in for the candidate who was unable to be there.

It’s the party vote that counts so it was not surprising that they all stressed that but only Jacqui made it obvious she was also seeking the seat.

So at question time I asked them why they were seeking the seat, or why their parties weren’t.

David said he was seeking the seat. Phillip explained that the Kiwi Party was new and didn’t have the people to run in every seat, which was honest.

Pat started with the party vote message so I asked her to get back on track and explain why the party wasn’t seriously contesting the seat when a good electorate MP was important to the people who needed her/his assistance.

She replied that she didn’t think an MP should be a social worker and that if s/he got help for a constituent that was rorting the system.

This was greeted with some surprise by the audience and Jacqui who explained how rewarding it was to be able to help people who were at the end of their tethers She then comprehensively rejected the accusation of rorting the system.

It’s just as well we’ve still got a few MPs who understand that people are more important that party dogma but under MMP they are an endangered minority.

People behind the numbers


Behind the headlines and the numbers of the milk powder poisoned by melamine in China story are people.

23 more sleeps . . .


. . .  until election day and the full list of parties  and candidates standing has been announced.

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