Why on earth would they do this?


If you had an uneconomic business to sell and knew that the government which was most likely to buy it was also the one least likely to be there after an impending election, how keen would you be do do a deal with it?


And being very keen, would you be hard to deal with?


Would you even be prepared to compromise on what you were prepared to accept rather than risk having no deal at all if the government changed?

Almost certainly.

Why then did Labour, spend so much more on what has become AlbatrossRail than it was worth when Toll Holdings would have been very, very willing sellers?

And given that, why on earth would anyone consider appointing Michael Cullen to the board of an SOE when he has demonstrated his lack of business acumen not just with this purchase and the ACC blow out but nine years of wasted opportunities?

I’ve just got back from Wellington and have come across the story late in the day so am not surprised so many other blogs have covered it and are united in their condemnation of the idea:

Keeping Stock says No John No

Kiwblog has problems with this  and comes up with more appointments for the government to consider.

No Minister says No, no, no  and asks is NZ now a Fools Paradise?

Roarprawn is aghast.

Cactus Kate calls it a National disgrace.

NZ Conservative suggests another job with a lot less pay.

Oswald Bastable also suggests another job.

Anti-Dismal sees politics where there should be commerce.

Barnsley Bill hopes it’s a joke.

Inquiring Mind says Absolutely bloody outrageous.

PM of NZ isn’t being tribal.

Whaleoil says No way.

UPDATE: Monkeywithtypewriter thinks this is all a personal PR campaign for Cullen.

Saturday smiles


A young man with a communications degree was employed by a bank.


One of the first tasks the manager gave him was to draw up instructions for the newly installed drive-through teller machines to enable customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles. 


It took him ages and when the manager asked him why he said it was because he needed two sets of instructions. The first was the procedure for men:


1 Drive up to the cash machine.

2 Put down your car window.

3 Insert card into machine and enter PIN.

4. Enter amount of cash required.

5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.

6. Put window up.

7. Drive away.


Then the procedure for women which was somewhat more convoluted and went:

1 Drive up to cash machine.

2 Reverse back the required amount to align car window to machine.

3. Put on hand brake.

4. Put window down.

5. Find handbag, tip contents onto passenger seat to locate card.

6. Turn the radio down.

7. Attempt to insert card into machine.

8. Attempt to insert card into machine.

9. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from car.

10. Insert card.

11. Reinsert card the right way up.

12. Rifle through contents of handbag to find diary with your PIN written in code on the inside back page.

13. Enter PIN

14.  Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN.

15. Enter amount of cash required.

16. Check make up in rear view mirror.

17. Retrieve card.

18. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place card inside.

19. Re-check make up.

20. Drive forwards two feet.

21. Reverse back to cash machine

22. Retrieve cash and receipt.

23. Re-empty handbag to locate wallet again and put cash and receipt inside it.

24 Give appropriate hand signal to irate male drivers queuing behind.

25. Restart stalled engine and move forward.

26. Drive a kilometer or two.

27. Release hand brake.


And the manager’s response?


She fired him.

Ignorance leads to left wing governments


I’ve always had my tongue in my cheek when I’ve suggested that we ought to pass a comprehension test before we’re allowed to vote, now I’ve read Offsetting Behaviour I’m not sure it’s so funny.

Offsetting Behaviour is a welcome addition to the blogosphere by Eric Crampton who has some fascinating posts defining political ignornace , measuring ignorance, measuring economic thinking and  asking who’s ignorant?

Hat Tip: Anti Dismal

Happy birthday sauvingnon blanc


Don’t break out the bubbles – best toast this one in still wine because it’s 30 years since Montana  first launched sauvingnon blanc.

Just think what’s happened since – arid, stoney farmland which wasn’t much use for growing grass has been transformed into vinyards. In the wake of the vinyards have come cafes, art galleries and other businesses providing more jobs and bringing new life to communities in places like Central Otago, North Canterbury, Malborough, Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay.

That’s had a huge impact on the domestic economy and  has earned significant export income:

. . . wine exports earned the country $1.25 billion last year.

Most of the Sav Blanc is grown in Marlborough and one of my favourites is that produced by Charles Wiffen.

Cleaning up the effluent


One of the by products of turning grass in to protein is manure and when a lot of it is collected in one place, like a milking shed, the question of disposal arises.

Most dairy farmers follow the rules and do it as prescribed by regional councils in a manner which adds nutrients to the soil without polluting waterways.

A few either don’t know or don’t care and when councils discover breaches of consents they prosecute but in spite of this some farmers still aren’t doing all they can to improve their systems so Fonterra has come up with a carrot and stick approach to solving the problem.

The carrot comes in the form of advice fromt heir staff and the stick will be deductions from milk payouts.

The minority of farmers who deliberately, or through ignorance, breach discharge consents reflect badly on the whole industry so I”m pleased that Fonterra is taking this approach.

Alf Grumble  notes this isn’t good enough for the Greens and Fish & Game but rightly points out that compliance is a matter for councils and that Fonterra’s penalties aren’t a substitute for any legal action, they’ll be in addition to it.

%d bloggers like this: