Who’s to blame?

November 13, 2008

The ugly picture painted by Treasury’s latest figures  can’t all be blamed on the turmoil in world financial markets.

Treasury has painted a very ugly economic picture for the incoming National government with cash deficits increasing, growth shrinking, tax revenue diminishing and unemployment rising.

Surely some of the blame for this can be laid on the failed policies of the noughties, if only because if labour was in power they’d be sure to blame it on the “failed” policies of the 80s and 90s.

Independence key to progress

November 13, 2008

Macdoctor wondered if he and Roarprawn  are the only ones to apprecitate John Key’s cleverness in offering ministerial roles to the Maori Party.

Phil Goff does too and he’s a wee bit tetchy about it:

Mr Goff said the Maori Party had decided to “bind” itself to National.

“It has made this decision notwithstanding the fact that in every Maori seat, voters on the ground gave the majority of the party vote to Labour, outpolling National by six to one.”

Rather than binding itself to National, the Maori Party would be showing it is independent of Labour and therefore establishing it as the only centre party in parliament (one-man vanity vehicles don’t count).

Keeping Stock  points out that only 55% of those on the Maori roll voted.

As only about half those eligible choose to be on the Maori roll that leaves a lot more Maori who didn’t vote for Labour than did, but that’s irrelvant now anyway. Labour lost the election and is in opposition, National won and is in a position, with or without the Maori Party’s support to help the Maori people.

That’s what the Maori Party is in parliament to do and if they turn their backs on this opportunity they’ll be letting them down, binding the party to Labour consigning it to the wasteland of the left occupied by the Greens.

Country car

November 13, 2008


The petrol station attendant said, “You from the country?”


I followed his eyes from the mud-encrusted tyres, up the dusty sides to the number eight wire which does duty as a radio aerial and grinned weakly. I’d meant to wash the car before I left home just as I always mean to give it the regular valet service it undoubtedly deserves. But regular seldom translates into frequent and who would notice if it did when I live on an unsealed road?


When it’s dry the cleanest car will be dusty again by the time it’s driven the first 100 metres from our cattle stop. And if it’s wet the sides will be splashed with mud before I’ve even made it to the gate.


This explanation for exterior mess does not however, excuse the interior muddle caused by the debris which gathers inside the vehicle. I could justify the sunglasses, AA book, maps, first aid kit, box of tissues, duster, CDs, sunscreen, umbrella, child’s emergency bag, pens and small change. Even the old sack in the boot might be excused as being prepared for an as yet unencountered emergency.


But I have no excuse for the shopping lists, hair bands, logbook last used in February 1988, long-lost toys and the other yet to be discarded detritus of family life.


It’s just as well the car is generally regarded as on-road transportation because if keeping it respectable is difficult trying to keep farm vehicles clean and tidy is bordering on the impossible.


The raddle, stock books, tools, rope, dog chains and other less easily identifiable necessities of farm life to be found in the cab accumulate so fast they might well be regarded as fittings. Then there’s the dust and mud and worse which collect inside and out which are an inescapable by-product of working outside in all weathers.


None of this matters when the vehicle is used solely for farm work and the driver is dressed appropriately. But it can leave those using it for other duties in better clothes decidedly the worse for the encounter as I discovered when I took the truck to town and arrived with a broad and dirty stripe where my once white blouse had met the seat belt.


But my worst trip in the truck was one with a toddler at my side and our second child only a few week’s from birth. All went well until I tried to get out. After a brief and fruitless struggle with the door I remembered my farmer had mentioned it sometimes stuck.


His advice in that case was to unwind the window and open the door from the outside. That was all very well for those with the required length of arm and upper body strength but I lacked both.


The only alternative was to get out the passenger door which was easier said than done. Trying to squeeze a pregnant belly past the steering wheel and toddler’s car seat to the other side was quite an act.


The fragile grasp I had on my sense of humour wasn’t helped when having done it, I met the eyes of an onlooker who was coping with an advanced case of hilarity caused by my antics.


I remembered this when my farmer needed the car and offered me the truck in its place a couple of weeks later and decided to stay at home.

Unit pricing – yes please

November 13, 2008

If 700 grams of whatever costs x and 1.3kg costs y which is cheaper?

I stand in the supermarket faced with this equation and go back to school maths classes with trains travelling in opposite directions and different speeds and I know there’s going to be a crash because my mind just goes blank.

Because of that I’m with Consumer magazine which has made a call for retailers to display unit prices.

Buying two packs of 100 teabags could be cheaper than one 200 pack, but it was harder to figure the best deal when comparing such things as 700gm and 1kg blocks of cheese, it said.

Consumer said manufacturers and supermarkets did not make it easy to compare prices and sometimes smaller packs worked out cheaper than large packs or bulk items.

Even if it didn’t save me money, I’d welcome the move as it would free me from from the stress of revisiting those long ago maths lessons.

Meandering mint

November 13, 2008

Deborah has been growing mint over at In a Strange Land and she’s very sensibly contained it in a pot.

That’s what I ought to have done when I took a few roots from my mother’s garden after she died.

Instead I just popped them into the garden where they grew and grew and grew and now the mints has taken over the rest of my herbs and is threatening the vegetable garden too:


Never too late

November 13, 2008

It’s supposed to never be too late to say sorry, and there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind when presented with new evidence which shows your previous stance was wrong.

So I’m not going to criticise Phil Goff because he’s admitted Labour got the Electoral Finance Act wrong.

But I’d be very interested in what he knows now that the party didn’t know a year ago when so many people and groups provided so much evidence that it was  a dogs breakfast and an attack on democracy.

And like Keeping Stock, I wonder if his new deputy and former Minister for Common Sense agrees with him.

That aside, I am confident National will show more common sense, graciousness and understanding of the importance of cross-party support for constitutional matters when drawing up the replacement than Labour did in ramming through the original.

NZ 5th in gender equality

November 13, 2008

New Zealand is ranked fifth in an international list of countries which have closed the gender gap.

Norway heads the list, and three other Scandanavian countries dominate the ‘Gender Gap Index’, which monitors progress in political, education and economic spheres.

New Zealand came fifth and was the first non-Scandanavian country after Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

130 countries were monitored. The UK rated 13th and Australia 21st.

Ranking tells only part of the story, being not as good as perfect isn’t bad and being better than appalling isn’t good.

I take it the ranking looks at women’s participation, but I wonder how we’d all rate if it also looked at men’s involvement in what have been, and maybe still are, predomiantly female roles and activities?

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