maggie and milly and molly and may


A friend just emailed lamenting the absence of Friday’s poem, so here it is.

It’s by e.e. cummings, doesn’t have a title and is from Selected Poems 1923 -1958, published by Faber.

It seemed appropriate because Labour weekend provides an opportunity for many to visit the beach.

maggie and milly and molly and may

went down to the beach (to play one day)


and Maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and


milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;


and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and


may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.


For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea

Peters names one charity


Winston Peters has named a charity New Zealand First donated to in the mistaken belief this would absolve it of the responsibility of repaying the $158,000 of tax payers’ money it used to fund its last election campaign.

TV One News said he’d told them the party gave $78,000 to the trust set up for Susan Couch, the only survivor of the 2001 RSA murders.

The Herald reported in 2006 that she was virtually destitute, unable to work five years after the attack and was being helped by the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Who or what the party gives its money to is between it and those who donate to it, but no matter how worthy the recipient of its donations NZ First still owes the public purse $158,000.

Until it repays that money every cent it spends on its campaign is money it owes us and tells us getting re-elected is more important to it than doing the right thing.

Update: TV1 doesn’t have this story on line yet, but I did a search for her name on the site and came across an interview with her lawyer  who happens to be Brian Henry who is also Peters’ lawyer.

Update 2: TVNZ now has the story on line here.

NZ 7th in world for press freedom


New Zealand has moved up from 15th to 7th place in an international ranking of media freedom  by Reporters without Borders.

It’s hard to say exactly what that means because while being better than the absolutely awful doesn’t make you good, nor does being worse than the absolutely perfect make you bad.

However, by and large the media is pretty free in New Zealand which is something to be grateful for, and also something we should guard jealously.

Parliament’s move to stop TV filming anyone who was not speaking is hardly worth mentioning in the same breath as imprisonment of journalists who fall foul of the powers that be, but it’s still a restriction of media freedom.

The Electoral Finance Act largely left reporting and comment in the media alone, but Newstalk ZB may have breached the Act because of something said on a talkback. Again this is minor in comparison with restrictions in some other countries, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t justified in being concerned about it.

So while we can take some pride in our ranking, we should see it as an achieved or perhaps even a merit but there’s still work to be done if we want to get an excellent.

Update: Poneke reckons the ranking makes us a bastion of free press.

A tale of two faces


A drought by any other name


It’s not only here that state silliness is rampant, it’s going on across the Tasman  too.

FEDERAL Government experts want people to use the word “dryness” to describe Australia’s worst drought in a century.

The word “drought” makes farmers feel bad, says the government’s hand-picked Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel.

 I’d be suspicious of a body with six words in its name to start with.

The politically-correct push also aims to make farmers accept that drier weather is here to stay, and is not a temporary crisis, the panel’s newly released report says.“Words like drought … have negative connotations for farm families,” the report said.


 Would that have even the tiniest, little, wee bit to do with the reality that droughts are negative experiences for farm families?

Tea and Whisky


In spite of my tartan genes I’ve never developed a taste for whisky, however, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the NZ Malt Whisky Company’s   cafe in Oamaru’s historic precinct.

The company is seeking partners  to build a distillary.

It has consents for Victoria Flats near Gibston but is also considering Oamaru as a location.

The company has also changed its bar and cafe to a whisky tea room for the summer season and is serving high teas, Devonshire teas and lunches.

Roxburgh Health Camp faces axe


The closure of the 67 year-old Roxburgh Health Camp is expected to be confirmed today.

Children’s Health Camps chief executive Fiona Inkpen yesterday said the board would decide by lunchtime today whether it could afford to reopen the facility after Christmas, but that was unlikely “unless there is a miracle overnight”.

Keeping the camp open was totally dependent on getting an extra $5 million in funding, but the Government had indicated it was not going to help.

“We have been in touch with the Minister [for Social Development] on a daily basis, who has refused to talk to us.

“The Government has acknowledged that health camps are a valued service and that they make a contribution to society but they will not give us more funding,” Dr Inkpen said.

The community is understandably worried about the loss of 45 jobs which will result from the closure.

That is a huge loss to a small district but the purpose of the camp is to help children in need and what is available for them if the camp closes is of greater concern.

Greens consider National


It sounds like a Tui billboard, but there it is in the ODT: Greens consider National.

The Green Party is not willing to be defined as either left or right, despite its strongly left-leaning policies, and has not ruled out working with the centre-right National Party, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said during a visit to Dunedin yesterday.

“It is not a right thing or a left thing. It is a Green thing. It is a different dimension,” she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said neither the left nor the right had the same policies on the environment as the Green Party, but with more influence in parliament, the party could change that.

She’s right in theory but in practice the Greens seem to be at least as concerned about a radical left social and economic agenda as they are about the environment which weakens their position and influence.

In MMP the power is in the middle. If National wins the election the Greens may choose to work with them on some issues but until they move from the far left of Labour they limit their options and their power.

NZ males endangered species


Jim Hopkins ruminates on the news New Zealand men’s sperm count is in decline:

Mainly because they’re as daft as the blokes who produce them. You see, what happens is that sperm get so overexcited at the prospect of hurtling to oblivion that millions of them actually beat themselves to death with their own tails.

It’s true! They wiggle so hard they kill themselves. Which doesn’t really advance the argument for intelligent design but is a nigh perfect metaphor for most male behaviour.

“Oh, wow! This must be fun. It really hurts!!!!”

The rest of his column is here.

15 more sleeps . . .


. . . until the election and Labour has spent $58,000 of our money on their pamphlet.

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