Blackout Monday




Homepaddock is blacked out in opposition to the guilt by association law.

I do not support of breaches of copyright.

My protest is aimed at section 92a and 92c of the Copyright Ammendment Act which are bad law and which will come in to force next Saturday February 28 unless the government acts.

See more at the Creative Freedom website:


On Monday morning bloggers from across the political spectrum will be taking their blogs down in an “Internet Blackout” to protest the coming into force on the 28th of S92A of the Copyright Act. Scores and scores of bloggers will be taking part, including Public Address, Scoop, Kiwiblog, The Standard, No Right Turn, Frog Blog, Whale Oil, Not PC, No Minister, Just Left, The Hand Mirror, Roar Prawn, Policy Net, Kiwi Politico etc etc.  Supporters of almost every political party are taking part – National, Labour, Greens, ACT, Alliance, and Libertarianz,

To say we represent a diverse range of views is putting it mildly. Normally we disagree on everything. Even e=mc^2 can be regarded as a highly debatable proposition on our blogs.

So for us to all unite together, from across the political spectrum, to condemn S92A of the Copyright Act should send a signal as to how bad the law is. A law which can see people lose their Internet access on the basis of unproven allegations should have no place in the New Zealand statute books.

We don’t care who voted for the law in the first place. We just want it stopped. We call on either Parliament to repeal that section or for the Government to delay it from coming into force on 28 February.

The normal content on our blogs will be made inaccessible on Monday morning, and our blogs will refer people to the online petition organized by the Creative Freedom Foundation.

In addition to these political blogs, thousands of other websites including Scoop News, PublicAddress.Net, Throng, GeekZone, and Street Talk are also joining the Internet Blackout.

Don’t get distracted, John



Soon after John Key became Prime Minister he said he wanted to focus on things which really mattered and, unlike Labour, didn’t want to become distracted and bogged down by sideshows.

Allowing the guilt by association sections in the new Copyright Act to come into effect will do just that.

It will take attention away from the good things the government is doing, it will provide a stick with which the government’s opponents will beat them; it will antagonise supporters and allow what ought to be a relatively minor piece of legislation to become a major distraction.

It will in fact be following Labour’s blueprint for losing their way.

Why would you inflict all that damage on yourself for legislation which was the previous administration’s mistake when you could simply delay the implementation of the two clauses until a fairer and more effective solution to the problem of illegal downloads  is devised?

Colin Wheeler at the Opera House


Colin Wheeler has been painting for more than six decades and much of his work features North Otago landscapes and buildings.

He is a prolific and generous artist and has donated a large number of his paintings to the town’s Forrester Gallery .

Twelve of his paintings now grace the foyer of the newly re-opened Opera House, a gift from former Oamaru resident Eleanor Sweeney.

My photography doesn’t do them justice:



Black and blue



When I started blogging I made my politics clear (I admit to the blue tint in the header and my National Party involvement on the About page).

I did that because I decided not to be anonymous (my name is also on the About page) and having done that thought it was important to be upfront about my bias – though regular readers probably don’t need to be told I’m not trying to be balanced 🙂

I also decided I’d leave criticism of National to others in much the way I might take issue with friends or family when I’m with them but not in front of others; and because there are enough people keen to criticise any party in public without its members joining in.

However, I’m making an exception over the guilt on association copyright law for two reasons.

First because it’s bad law. David Farrar’s guest column at NZCPR  explains why and I linked to several blogs which have covered the issue on an earlier post.

Second because it’s really stupid politics. 

This is Labour’s mess thanks to then minsiter Judith Tizard. But she’s no longer in parliament and her party has seen the light so if section 92a and 92c are retained the mess and resulting problems will become National’s and  the government risks losing far too much of the goodwill and support it’s won if it won’t clear it up.

It doesn’t have to be this way, they can delay the problem bits becoming law when cabinet meets tomorrow.

Failure to do so will exhibit a similar blind refusal to see sense as Labour and its allies exhibited with Electoral Finance Act.

Like Keeping Stock I’m not confident of blacking out this site without killing it completely but I’ll try and if that doesn’t work I’ll certainly be showing that I’m backing the blackout even though I’m blue.

Old but new


The architects for the restoration of the Oamaru Opera House were Williams Ross  of Melbourne, a firm which has specialised in theatres.

One of the partners, Virginia Ross, has a very personal link with the project. She was brought up in Oamaru and her family were involved with the arts in the town. She recalled one Operatic Society performance in the Opera House when her father was in the cast, her mother and brother in the orchestra and her grandfather helped in the front of the house.

The restoration retained as much of possible of the old building, its fittings and character and the links with the past have been carried through in the decor.

In the Empire Room, for example, features this floor-to-ceiling representation of Britannia, taken from the programme for a World War I fund raising concert.


Not quite what was ordered

The story of the bloke who claims he found a deep fried cicada  with his chips reminded me of an email from a reader whose wife found something which didn’t look like peas in a bag of what was supposed to be frozen peas.

She emailed the processing company got a phone call two minutes later saying it was woody nightshade and they had ordered a product recall.

 She also contacted Consumer, who said they had no record of the recall and that she should inform the Health Department, which she did and they’ve sent the peas for testing.


We get a lot of what I’ve always called deadly nightshade in our garden and I often see it in paddocks. It starts with a small white flower then develops green pea-like seeds that if left long enough – as happens when my weeding isn’t up to scratch – eventually turn black.


The seeds will be carried by birds and it would be impossible to keep them out of crops, but quality control ought to ensure that none gets into packets of peas.


Was that a fire alarm?


A siren sounded part way through Mayor Alec Familton’s speech during the dinner which preceded the Oamaru Opera House Gala Showcase.

There was some initial confusion. But it soon became clear it wasn’t part of the enetertainment nor was it a hint the mayor had said enough.

A rehearsal of the pyrotechnics for the opening act had set off the smoke alarms so we all had to file out into the rain and wait for the fire brigade to arrive and declare a false alarm before we could go back in.

Not quite what was expected but given the spectacular nature of the pyrotechnics during the show, we could understand how it had happened.


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