Immigration fraud investigation


Internal Affairs Minsiter Rick Barker says an investigation is underway into immigration fraud.

He made the statement after media inquiries following a teaser post on The Briefing Room about a story in TGIF.

Sanlu sunk?


The Shanghai Daily reports that Sanlu in which Fonterra has a 43% stake is “facing bankruptcy”.  

Industrial experts told the newspaper that it is unlikely a single company will be able to take over Sanlu as its debts total more than 700 million yuan ($NZ169 million) -not counting massive compensation claims.

Chinese newsagency Xinhua said yesterday that 5824 children were still receiving hospital treatment for kidney diseases caused by milk contaminated with melamine, and six children were in serious condition.

Macdoctor reckons Fonterra will have to put this down to experience.

Planting Spuds


The first new potatoes are appearing in the supermarket but I’m not tempted because they’re from the North Island and always a disappointment in comparison with the far tastier, but slightly later ripening, North Otago ones.


Until the local spuds are available I won’t be buying, but the thought of them prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem.


It’s Planting Spuds by Brian Turner from Footfall published by Godwit in 2005.


Planting Spuds


You were reading where a man planting spuds

in his garden saw it as his ‘sovereign prerogative’

a phrase both lofty and daft, possibly outrageous.


It’s hard to decide. As is, if what one does could ever

be worthy of such belief. And it’s difficult to know

if you’re a certain sort of person, what one has


a right to do, or whether one should even be troubled

by the question. I can easily imagine working in a bee-loud

corner of a glade, a lost domain, humming happily


or watching a rabbit unnoticed yet ever alert,

nibbling grass perked by rain. But what one

chooses to do next is governed by more than


one’s own prerogative. You should be ready to run

like a rabbit, no matter what. It’s got something

to do with who’s part of the food chain, and which


way the wind’s blowing. What do you reckon?

How deep in the ground would you put spuds

if you didn’t have the requisite advice printed


on the bag they came in? And would it help to

plant them before the sun goes down and the bees

return to the hive? Does anyone know that?


– Brian Turner –

Taxpayers need return


The Timaru Herald makes a very good point about taxpayers’ largesse to students:

Under Labour, students have done well. Nearly $2 billion in interest charges have been written off, there is zero interest providing certain conditions are met, and now allowances could become universal.

This is all at the expense of the taxpayer, and perhaps it is time we asked for something in return. A requirement on students to perform satisfactorily or forfeit the allowance would be one way of ensuring the investment was not wasted; another could be bonding the graduate to work in New Zealand for a certain period rather than instantly gallivanting overseas. Such moves could also dilute the label of cynical vote-catcher from Labour’s policy.

Both these suggestions have merit, especially the idea of bonding.

I’d prefer most of the assistance to students to be given to graduates rather than at undergrads who may or may not finish qualifications and if they do qualify, may or may not work in New Zealand. That way the country gets a return from the very generous investment in their education.

No need to bother with policy


“Show us your policy,” they’ve been saying for months.

But does policy really matter?

Leighton Smith played this tape on his show yesterday which demonstrates people not only don’t know what McCain’s and Obama’s policies are but they’d vote for their preferred candidate even if he had the other’s policies and deputy.

Yet more evidence that some people would be performing a public service if they didn’t vote.


Bill’s patch


An ODT look around the Clutha Southland electorate found that Bill English has worked hard for his constituents and that’s reflected in their support for him.

The reporter expressed surprise that no-one spoken to could name any other candidate but that doesn’t suprise me.

The size of the electorate and the constraints of the Electoral Finance Act make it very difficult for candidates to raise their profiles, but on top of that no-one else is really trying to win the seat.

Do as I say not as I do


Winston Peters’ advice to students:

*  Grab each day as it comes along and enjoy it. You never know when it could be your last.

* Always read books – any books but especially novels.

* Go fishing whenever you can. Apparently God does not deduct fishing time from our lives.

*  Be loyal to your friends.

* Keep laughing.

* Don’t keep filling your heads with useless information.

* Don’t eat too many carbohydrates.

* Save yourselves and save Grandma – vote New Zealand First.

In the last few months, Mr Peters has shown he has been living his own advice.

He certainly has been grabbing each day as it comes along, battling through a privileges inquiry, surviving a Serious Fraud Office investigation, which found no fraud had occurred, and awaiting the results of a case laid with the police.

No-one could be sure that it would not be his last day in politics.

But he does not always seem to read books, especially receipt books or those issued by trust accounts, otherwise he would not have had to see off all the various inquiries.

Why is this our business?


TVNZ led it’s 6am and 6.15 news with the story of a custody battle.

I didn’t bother watching to see if there was anything of greater moment happening in New Zealand or the wider world to get top billing on later bulletins.

But even if there isn’t, I don’t understand why private family disfunction is deemed to be public business.

Pillock people


Jim Hopkins reports from the planet of the pillock people.

EFA scares radio from interviews


Kapiti Coast Access radio is too scared to run election candidate interviews because it fears falling foul of the Electoral Finance Act.

Access Radio recorded seven of 12 interviews with Kapiti and Mana election candidates last week but decided not to air them.

The station was concerned the interviews could be seen as election advertisements, rather than current affairs, and attract public complaints.

The Kapiti Coast station’s manager, Graeme Joyes, said the Electoral Commission could not guarantee that running the interviews was safe and the community station was too small to risk testing the laws in court.

“That’s not a street I actually want to walk down. We’re the minnows of the radio world and we can’t afford a court case.”

The electoral rules were too vague on what was classed an election programme and what was current affairs.

“It’s a very, very tenuous boundary. It needs a really good cleanup so we have a clear understanding what we can or can’t do.”

. . . Commission spokesman Peter Northcote said it could not give advice to broadcasters and the decision rested with the station.

“We appreciate it may be difficult for the broadcasters [but] it’s their call how they manage their risk around that.

“It’s important not to think this is one of these Electoral Finance Act issues – it’s not. The Broadcasting Act’s got a definition of what an election programme is. That hasn’t changed.”

That may not have changed but I don’t recall any media exhibiting this level of fear before the EFA was imposed on us.

22 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and guess who’s blaming immigrants  again.

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