Bets back polls

October 19, 2008

The punters, like the polls, are backing an election win for National.

The Australian bookmaker Centrebet is paying just $1.15 for John Key to be Prime Minsiter and $5 for Helen Clark to retain power and the odds have been changing in Key’s favour.

Centrebet is offering $A1.15 for a Key victory, which has steadily shortened from $A1.47 since betting opened in February, while Clark’s odds have lengthened from her opening price of $A2.60.

Centrebet’s political analyst Neil Evans said 90% of the close to $A200,000 ($224,500) bet on the race had been on a Key victory.

“It’s been one-way momentum,” he said. “Clark would have to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and I can’t see that rabbit coming at all. The people backing her are speculative punters, just because she’s out to a big price. But the people that are there to win, and win only, are betting National.”

The largest bet had been placed by an Auckland man a fortnight ago $A47,000 on a National victory at $A1.22, from which the punter stands to reap about $A10,000 profit.

“That’s a very, very big bet from a Kiwi with an Australian bookmaker and that’s as good a statement as you’ll get that New Zealand’s headed for a change of government.

. . . But Labour supporters can take heart that Centrebet got it wrong last time.

The day before the 2005 election, the bookmaker was offering $A1.65 on a Don Brash win, compared with $A2.10 for Clark.

Whether you’re polling or gambling you can monitor and measure the trends but there can still be upsets on the day, especially under MMP which isn’t a two horse race .


Cleaner without kids

October 19, 2008

You could almost feel sorry for the Green Party over the reaction to their population policy.

Except that like a lot of other Green initiatives, in spite of no doubt worthy intentions, it’s got lots of fish hooks and I’ll confess one of the reasons I took the bait was because it reminded me of the campaign by green (though not necessarily Green) people against disposable napkins.

Let me start with a confession: I used disposable nappies.

 When I say used I don’t mean wore because I don’t think they were invented until I was long past needing them. What I mean is, I used them for my children.

In mitigation I’ll add that for the first two it was only when we went out that I exchanged reusable cloth nappies for the convenience of disposables. With the third it was necessity which persuaded me to give up on the cotton ones because he had a brain disorder. That left him incontinent and by the time he was two the old cloth and safety pins just couldn’t cope with his bowel and bladder capacity so I turned to disposables which could.

Napkins are one of the things people like to kid you about when you’re pregnant but once the baby arrives you just do what has to be done with them and I never considered that to be worthy of debate.

However, that was before I came across no fewer than five separate articles in the space of a few weeks which did their best to convince me otherwise.

By the time I got to the end of the fifth diatribe I was beginning to think that choosing to drape my babies’ bottoms in disposables I was commiting a major crime against the environment.

My conscience was eased a little by a single contribution of the contrary viewpoint which sought to convince me that with everything involved in growing, harvesting and processing the cotton and turning it into napkins plus the water, power and soap powder used in washing them, cloth nappies might be even less kind on the environment that disposables.

However, my relief was short lived because these counter-arguments were made by a representative of the company which makes disposables and while I didn’t doubt his sincerity I couldn’t ignore the suspicion that the claims he made could be influenced to some degree by self-interest.

But even if he was biased, there was still some truth in the environmental impact of cloth nappies so either way I couldn’t win.

If I used reusables I wasted natural resources but so did disposables and that also left the problem of disposal because in spite of what their name implies one of the problems with disposables is their disposability, or lack of it.

Not that I ever thought about such things when deciding which nappies to use because whether I used cloth or disposables had nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with my children’s comfort and my convenience.

Once my son died I no longer had to worry about napkins, but the arguments are still raging – and each time I come across them I wonder if they do because it is women who are still much more likely to be involved in the purchase, use, laundering or disposal of napkins? Isn’t there something predominantly used by men which is equally problematic?

Obviously the environment would be better off without any napkins but until someone designs people who are born with the control which makes them unnecessary maybe anyone with the best interests of a clean, green world at heart would just be better not to have babies at all.


Do we want a circus?

October 19, 2008

The joy of political commentators like me would know no bounds as such an unwieldy motley crew of conflicting parties would be a magnificent circus to watch in action.

Of course, it would be a disaster in these economic times when a clear, single-minded approach is desperately required to the recession and international market collapse and, instead, New Zealand delivered itself a muddled, bickering coalition of the unwilling and the wilful.

Bill Ralston on what could happen if a silver, bronze and most of the other runners (Labour, Progressive, United Future, Green Party, New Zealand First, Maori Party)  beat gold (National) and the other runners who’d go with them – Act, United Future and Maori Party.

Is he being premature only putting the Green Party on the left when it isn’t announcing its preferred coalition partner until tomorrow?

No. They might be fooling themselves but when you look at their criteria for their preferred coalition partner they’re not fooling anyone else that they are seriously considering going with National.

And that’s one of their biggest weaknesses – if they were strong on the environment and moderate on social and economic policy they could sit in the middle and hold the balance of power election after election. But because they’re on the far left, their options, and their influence are limited to Labour.


20 more sleeps . . .

October 19, 2008

. . . until election day and not all the news is political.


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