The tragic news from across the Tasman worsens as the death toll rises and damage to property from the bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria continues.
There’s not a lot we can do from this side of the ditch but offer our prayers and donations.
Red Cross volunteers are helping victims and providing support for emergency services. You can donate to the bushfire appeal via the NZ Red Cross website or give $20 by phoning 0900 33 200.
The website also gives an email address for people who can’t contact relatives in the danger area.
The government has started the appeal with a $500,ooo donation and 100 New Zealand firefighters will fly to Australia to help.
Keeping Stock has a link for the Australian Red Cross.
The Brisbane Times calls it a sick joke from the father of the bride.
The television commercial, which airs tonight, shows the father of a bride making a humorous wedding speech. Halfway through the ad he says: “I remember the first words that I ever said to her after sex – ‘Don’t tell Mum.’ “
“If only it was this easy to get over child abuse,” says the voiceover, over the laughter heard in the background.
Pictures will almost always carry a stronger message than the words.
The message is a very serious one and I watched the video of the ad with horror because the seriousness of the words in the voiceover were contradicted not just by the father’s speech but by the pictures – the expressions on the face of his daughter and the laughter in the background suggest child abuse is a laughing matter.
It’s not just a sick joke, it’s a sick advertisement.
The minimum wage is going up 50c to $12.50 and the minimum wage for young people will rise by 40c to $10 from April 1.
Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said the government tried to balance job protection and fair pay.
I have mixed feelings about the minimum wage concept. I accept the need to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation. The counter-point for that is the employers’ right to pay workers what a job, and the way they do it, is worth.
One of the considerations for that is what the business can afford because while the government sets the minimum wage it’s individual employers who have to find the money to pay it.
Wages are one of the highest costs for many businesses and as the recession bites deeper higher wages could result in fewer jobs or less hours.
The Tiwai Point smelter has already responded to the fall in aluminium prices by asking workers to volunteer for working reduced hours or take unpaid leave.
Labour got the Electoral Finance Act wrong from the start by trampling all over the convention that such measures should have multi-party support.
National is getting the first steps right in the process which will provide a democratic and enduring replacement by involving all parties in consultation and providing opportunities for public submissions.
Inventory 2 notes John Key is keeping a promise made in his contribution to the third reading debate in December 2007.
(He also notes he started his blog Keeping Stock in response to the bill and I’m pleased that while the EFA is going his blogging will continue).
Posts on Kiwiblog contributed some of the most intelligent opposition to the EFA. I agree with comments on this post which give due thanks to David Farrar and Whaleoil for the part they played in opposing the Act.
It was an attack on democracy and among its many faults was the way it made it stifled expression not just during the election campaign but for almost all of election year because of the confusion over what was and was not covered by it.
This time last year two-tooth ewes were selling for about $90 at best.
Similar animals went for $197 at a sale at Lorneville last week.
A year ago a good price for lambs was about $65 and now they’re going for $100.
It’s a reflection of supply and demand at work. Last year dairy conversions and drought resulted in the sale of a lot of capital stock, now sheep farmers are rebuilding their flocks.
It’s a very different picture for dairy cows which were selling for $2,500 last year and are now worth about $1,200.
Beef is showing a small increase on last year’s prices, up about 30c to $3.30 a kilo so a 270kg bullock which would have sold for about $810 last year would sell for about $890 now.