If his jacket breached the EFA why didn’t her bathing suit?


Rodney Hide has been referred to the police for breaching the Electoral Finance Act by wearing his yellow jacket with the Act logo but without an authorisation.

If his jacket breached the EFA then why didn’t Metiria Turei’s bathing suit?:


I wrote a letter to the editor after seeing this in the ODT saying she was breaching the act by wearing a wetsuit emblazoned with the Green logo without authorisation. She wrote a letter back saying she wasn’t so I emailed the Electoral Commission to ask which of us was correct.

The initial reply said:

You suggest that a party logo by itself constitutes an election advertisement.

 An party advertisement is

‘any form of words or graphics or both that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to do either or both of the following:

(a)      to vote for the party (whether or not the name of the party is stated):

(b)      not to vote for another party (whether or not the name of the party is stated)’

 It is not clear to me that a party logo, by itself, meets this definition.

When I saw a news item saying the commission was considering whether a balloon with a Labour Party logo constituted an advertisement I emailed back suggesting that if a logo on a balloon was going to count then a logo on a wetsuit must too, especially when the story beside the photo included this quote:

“ Mrs Turie said …. She chose not to compete in a wetsuit, preferring a swimsuit emblazoned with the Green Logo. “It’s always good to get your message out there.” ….  She said competing not only helped her promote the Green message throughout the country…”

I received a reply to that email on May 1 saying that when the balloon logo was considered the commission would consider all other logos which had been referred to them but have heard nothing further.

In light of the new development I will email again.


Dream come true





From The Australian

Kiwi kids’ swimming in decline


New Zealand children’s swimming ability is going backwards.

A new report just released to Campbell Live has shown that New Zealand children are worse swimmers now than they were in 2001.

Swimming in New Zealand is not just treading water, it’s going backwards.

The report says one in two kids cannot swim 25m and only a third can swim 50m.

Only one in five can swim 200m, the benchmark distance considered necessary to swim and survive in the water.

Perhaps most worryingly a quarter of children cannot get across 25m or tread water.

Water Safety NZ manager Matt Claridge says this will result in more deaths in an island nation which already has a per capita drowning rate twice that of Australia’s.

“We’re estimating that drownings are going to be up around in excess of 150 deaths per year from the year 2025. That’s really considerable given the fact that the primary school kids of today and the 1990s are not being exposed to Learn to Swim education.”

Claridge says the decline in children’s swimming ability is due to a number of factors including a lack of funding for schools.

“Schools don’t get enough funding support to adequately deliver Learn to Swim. Whether that’s maintaining a facility on their own premises or taking kids to a public pool. It’s generally too difficult,” he says.

I agree that this inability to swim is a concern but teaching children to swim has never been the responsibilitiy of schools by themselves.

Neither of my parents were confident swimmers but they ensured my brothers and I were. As soon as we were old enough we had lessons in the school holidays and we also went to swimming club. Then they took us to the river every free Sunday (which was mostof them) from Labour weekend to Easter where we put the lessons to use.

It’s more than 40 years since I learned to swim and even then if it had been left to the school I doubt if I’d have learnt enough to save myself.

The expense and work involved in the upkeep needed to meet modern standards mean many schools no longer have their own pools and there may be a problem of insufficient money in the overstretched education budget to allow schools to take chidlren to public pools.

With so much more in the curriculum now it’s even less realistic to leave swimming lessons to schools by themselves than it was four decades ago.

Not all families will be able to afford swimming lessons but we can’t expect schools to be responsbile for yet another area where society falls short without giving them more money and staff. Even then we might also have to let them take something else out of the curriculum if they’re to fit more swimming in.

The ph word



Whose problem is it?


Phil Goff was crying crocodile tears on Breakfast  this morning over the New Zealanders stranded by the occupation of Bagkok airport and saying he’d ahve been happy to give John Key the benefit of his advice.

He didn’t, however, admit that he was the minister responsible when both the Air Force’s Boeing 737 passenger planes were sent for maintenance at the same time which restricts the government’s options.

Nor did he explain just why getting people out of Thailand was the government’s responsibility anyway.

There didn’t appear to be any risk to life so why wasn’t up to the people themselves, the airlines which were to fly them out, their travel agents and/or insurance companies?

It’s not as if Thailand is an island. Cactus Kate  helpfully provides a map for the geographically challenged.

As it turns out it seems the occupation is over and the Hercules the government planned to send since the Boeings weren’t available won’t be needed anyway.

Update: Ex-expat  thinks it’s a beat up and offers some travel advice.

Inquiring Mind  thinks the’crisis’ is a media fiction.

And Annie Fox  reckons socialism has sapped Kiwi initiative and Whale Oil  expresses a similar view.

6 Chinese babies dead & 300,000 sickened by melamine milk


China has admitted that six babies died and 300,000  became ill after drinking milk made from powder which had been poisoned by melamine.

The scandal has been met with public dismay and anger, particularly among parents who feel the government breached their trust after their children were sickened or died from drinking infant formula authorities had certified as safe.

The Health Ministry’s revised death toll is twice the previous figure, while the new count of 294,000 babies who suffered urinary problems from drinking contaminated infant formula is a six-fold increase from the last tally in September.

“Most of the sickened children received outpatient treatment for only small amounts of sand-like kidney stones found in their urinary systems, while some patients had to be hospitalized for the illness,” the ministry said in a statement late Monday.

The latest statistics show that China’s communist leaders are slowly acknowledging the scale of China’s worst food safety scare in years. During such crises, the government often deliberately releases information piecemeal in part to keep from feeding public anger.

Thousands of parents have been clamouring for compensation for their sickened and dead children. The release of the figures raises the question of whether the Health Ministry is getting closer to finalizing a compensation scheme.

“The new figures are more realistic and objective than previous figures. We knew the previous ones could not have been accurate,” said Chang Boyang, a Beijing lawyer who has provided legal assistance to families of children who became ill.

Six deaths from such a serious and widespread problem still seems very low, although at least it is an indication that authorities are being more open about the scale of the scandal.

Morning Report said that Sanlu, one of the companies most badly affected  by the poisoning, has begun selling milk powder again and that people are accepting reassurances that it is safe.

Fonterra, which has a 40% stake in Sanlu, announced a 60 cents reduction in its forecast payout for this season, partly because of losses associated with the melamine scandal.

Situation Vacant


A once in a life time opportunity exists for a special person in an owner-operated rural business.


This is an exciting and challenging position which requires an energetic person of outstanding character and exceptional ability.


The job calls for someone who can work unsupervised, follow instructions – explicit and implicit – displays initiative and has a creative approach to problem solving.


Applicants must be hard working, determined and physically fit. The position requires someone with high level decision making and negotiating skills and the ability to think outside the square. First rate communication skills are essential and while a second language is not necessary, the successful applicant will need to be conversant with dog. The ability to read minds – human and animal – would also be an advantage.


A current licence for all classes of vehicles and a clean driving record are necessary and experience at operating a variety of implements would be an asset. Applicants who own their own  car, truck, tractor and/or  motor bike will be considered first.


Computer literacy and advanced key board skills are essential and experience in office management and accountancy is desirable.


The ideal person for this job will be flexible, adaptable, unflappable, level headed, experienced at multi-tasking, with proven ability in crises management.


The requirement for previous experience in relevant work could be waived for applicants with the ability to earn a significant supplementary income in such fields as medicine, accountancy,  nursing, teaching or veterinary science. In such case extensive on the job training will be provided as part of the employment package.


Remuneration is output dependent and subject to external factors including climate and market variables. However, the successful applicant will be eligible for promotion to full partnership and a variety of fringe benefits which will be explained fully at the interview.


Applications should be made in writing, accompanied by curriculum vitae, references, relevant vehicle ownership papers and a recent photograph and addressed to “Farmer’s Wife, 2 R.D. Bachelor Road, Singleton.

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