And we think question time is bad


Question time in our parliament is not usually noted for intelligent discourse and good manners.

But it’s a model of decorum compared with this behaviour in the  Ukraine parliament  where a voting session turned into an all-out brawl.

Swearing in


Prime Minister John Key, his cabinet and the ministers outside cabinet were sworn in this morning.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Key said being sworn in was a wonderful feeling.

“Obviously there’s the enormity of the task that stands in front of us but, as I said, I’ve never felt more confident that the group of individuals that form the executive are the right individuals to take New Zealand on a more prosperous and safer future,” he said.

TV3 has the video of the ceremony here.


Hat Tip for photo: Keeping Stock

Blogging’s therapeutic


Feeling guilty about all the time spent at the keyboard?

Relax, you’re not wasting your time, you’re practising self-therapy  and it’s good for your mental health.

Mickey Mouse turns 80


The time difference between the USA and New Zealand means that although Mickey Mouse’s 80th birthday was yesterday, November 18th, celebrations are happening today November 19th for us.

One of those celebrating is Lila Frisch  who shares Mickey’s birthday.

The Port Angeles woman and the Walt Disney icon are turning 80 on Tuesday, and Frisch — an admitted Mickey aficionado — will celebrate with a Mickey-themed party at her Fogarty Avenue home.

For Frisch, the party won’t compare to that for her 75th birthday, when she was the grand marshal of a parade at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

“You just can’t imagine how that made me feel,” Frisch said. “They treated like me like royalty. I figure I could never be treated so royally again.”

Instead, Frisch will celebrate with her “Mickey people,” as she calls fans of the squeaky-voiced cartoon character. And there are quite a few Mickey people in Port Angeles, Frisch said.

Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Wille, 1928.

Time marks the birthday here.

Morning Report also took a look at Mickey’s life and although it’s not on-line Geoff Robinson tried to sing the song. Come on, you know it – altogether now: M-i-c-k-e-y-m-o-u-s-e

Sanlu selling assets


Several plants affiliated to Sanlu, one of the companies affected by the poisoned milk scandal, are likely to be sold.

Through its investment in Sanlu, Fonterra Cooperative Group effectively took a share of more than 40 affiliated plants that are interconnected.

Fonterra holds 43 percent of the shares in Sanlu but has already written down $139 million worth of its investment’s book value.

At least four babies died, and another 53,000 were made ill by adulterated Chinese milk powders containing melamine.

The Beijing Review said today that Sanlu expects to have to pay compensation claims totalling 700 million yuan ($NZ188 million) to consumers whose infants became sick or died after drinking its tainted baby formula.

Beijing-based Sanyuan Group is reportedly set to acquire Sanlu’s seven key affiliate milk plants in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province.

The Wondersun Dairy Co Ltd, based in Heilongjiang Province in northeast China, is also expected to buy a plant in that province.

But details about the acquisitions and disposals of Sanlu’s other factories around the country remain unclear.

 . . . Men Haitao, a spokesman for Sanyuan, told the Beijing Review that the acquisition talks with Sanlu were not finished and declined to give further details.

The analysts said the Sanlu brand was almost certain to disappear from the market given the acute damage to it.

Children must take priority


There wasn’t a lot of privacy in the children’s ward where my son was a patient so those of us who were there often soon got to know other people’s business.


One mother was only 16 and her baby had recurring and serious health problems. The mother stayed in, the father came every day after school and both sets of grandparents were also frequent visitors. It was obvious this baby was truly loved and that she and her parents had caring support from their wider family.


Another mother was about 20 and the baby was there because her mother couldn’t, or wouldn’t look after her. Mothers of pre-schoolers were able to live-in at no cost but this mother chose not to, she’d turn up in the mid afternoon because she spent the morning sleeping off the night before, stay for an hour or so and go again.


She always came alone and there was no sign of support from the baby’s father, family or friends.


Every time I hear about child neglect or abuse I think of that wee baby and her mother and wonder what happened to them.


Because all the signs were there of a mother who not only didn’t know how to look after her baby but didn’t care about her either.


There may well have been many reasons for that, it’s possible that the mother had been neglected and/or abused herself, but reasons don’t keep babies safe.


Health professionals often see problems long before welfare agencies are involved and they ought to be able to refer inadequate parents so they get the help needed to enable them to help themselves and their children.


If that’s not possible then the first priority must be for the wellbeing of the children because until and unless we put the children first the sad litany of abuse and neglect will continue.

Mother love lapsed


I couldn’t read the court reports on the trial of the people accused of the abuse which led to Nia Glassie’s death.

The little bits I got from inadvertently listening to radio or watching TV news programmes told me far more than I wanted to know of the gruesome details of what this wee girl went through in her short life.

Then I noticed this headline last weekMother turned blind eye to daughter’s abuse court hears

So I read the story and when I got to this bit: “What would I do? Nothing, just sit there.”  I cried.

I couldn’t understand how mother love could lapse so badly, then Then I thought about the day I got to the end of my tether with my daughter.

I can’t remember what she’d been doing and why I felt so angry about it, but I’ve never forgotten my response. I picked her up carefully, put her in her cot at one end of the house, walked out a door at the other end and screamed so loudly that one of our men who was cutting trees with a chain saw hundreds of metres away heard me.

Then I took a deep breath, went back inside, picked up the toddler, gave her a cuddle and we got on with our day.

What’s the difference between me and those who were found guilty of murder or manslaughter of Nia? Why did I have enough self control to put my daughter’s safety first and why were these people capable of such evil behaviour?

Part of the answer could be in our backgrounds. I was brought up by parents who loved each other, my brothers and me. My mother was the most selfless person I’ve ever known and she taught us all the importance of caring for others. I married a man who had a similar upbringing and commitment to our children and me. We have the love and support of wider family and friends and caring relationships are normal for us.

But our normal isn’t normal for everyone, that’s why some people are desensitised to human suffering, that’s why chidlren like Nia are abused and die and that people who know about it in the house and the neighbourhood do nothing.

Parental love should be inherent because protection of our young is a basic instinct for people and animals. But drug and alcohol abuse mixed with intergenerational dysfunction contribute to a short circuit in that primal emotion.

Each time one of these dreadful cases becomes public, we say never again. But it will keep happening until putting the needs of vulnerable people first is normal for everyone.

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