Blue Baron & Snoopy


The Backbencher unveiled its new puppets last night – John Key and Bill English and the Blue Baron and Snoopy, Pita Sharples paddling a waka and Rodney Hide as a puppet with Roger Douglas pulling his strings.

It’s on YouTube and if you’re a political geek you can play spot the MP – I counted 14 from National.

NZX to launch milk powder futures’ market


NZX plans to offer a market for trading whole milk powder futures.

New Zealand supplies around 40 percent of the global whole milk powder market and market volatility had led to demand for a risk management tool similar to other commodity markets.

“It’s a natural fit for New Zealand to host the trading of milk derivative contracts, and to meet the global demand for risk management tools in the dairy industry,” NZX Head of Traded Products Fiona Mackenzie said in a statement.

Last month it was rural media, this month it’s rural produce.

It might be a good move for shareholders, I don’t think it will have any benefits for farmers and wonder if it’s another example of what Cactus Kate  calls: “making hay from a collection of other land-owners’ paddocks while the sun is still shining”.

Although, the sun isn’t shining on dairying at the moment.

Labour’s rail dream taxpayers’ nightmare


Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the Labour government spent more than a billion dollars on KiwiRail  last year. It’s now valued at just $388 million.

Mr Joyce says that, in opposition, National was very concerned at the purchase price paid by Labour for the rail company and nothing has happened since to change that view.

“We now need some hard-nosed realism about future investments.  We need decisions that make sense when stacked up alongside other modal options, including sea freight and roading.

“We want to encourage an environment where rail can operate as efficiently as possible, with strong commercial imperatives to provide the greatest benefit to the New Zealand economy.

“There will be an expectation that investment in the predominantly freight-based national rail network anticipates a commercial rate of return. Any taxpayer subsidies to the freight side of the business should be provided transparently and should not be at the expense of other transport modes.”

Labour’s dream has turned in to an expensive nightmare for the taxpayer but at least the National government is awake to the problem and won’t be  blinded by ideology when seeking solutions.

Like, you know


song chart memes 

GraphJam  has added a whole new world to my work avoidance strategies.

Child care subsidies make you fat


A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research on child care subsidies and childhood obesity  found an association between receiving a subsidy and a greater likelihood of being overweight and obese.

Just wondering:

Did the study look at what the children ate when they were away from child care centres?

Did the study look at children in the same centres who didn’t receive subsidies?

Did the study look at children in centres where none received subsidies?

Hat Tip: Anti-Dismal

Treading on eggshells


Yesterday’s post about reacting personally rather than politically to the news that Richard Worth had resigned was written immediately after the announcement that it was for personal reasons.

That suggested to me it was a health problem or family issue. It was evening when I caught up with the news again and by that time it was clear that was not the case.

I am walking on eggshells here, because there is a police investigation and I’m an office holder in the National Party.

Because of that, had I not made the earlier post I might have chosen not to comment on the issue at all, but since I did, rather than deleting or updating it now it’s been overtaken by events I thought I should do another.

Speaking personally and generally:

A police investigation of a public figure is not a personal matter.

Sexual harassment is deplorable, inexcusable and unacceptable.

Sometimes, even if allegations aren’t proved, enough mud sticks to make a career in politics untenable.

Tracking the $US – updated


The value of the $US dollar matters to New Zealand because a lot of our exports are traded in that currency and every cent it goes up means lower returns for our produce.

Recent rises in the exchange rate haven’t been because our dollar has become more popular, they’re more because the $US has fallen.

The graph tracks the changes in the value of the $US against the currencies of five key dairy trading nations from 2002 until the end of May:

 dairy 1

From April 1 to May 29 the $US fell 12% against the Brazilian real (purple line); 11% against the $AUs (red line) 10% against the $NZ (blue line) 5% against the euro (green line) and 1% against the Argentinean peso (pink line).

Our dollar fell three cents against the $US yesterday reflecting both a rally in that currency and concern about the 12% fall in the price Fonterra got in its latest globalDariyTrade auction.

UPDATE: Matt Nolan and Paul McBeth have corrected me: the increase in the value of the $NZ is due to both the fall in the $US and popularity of the $NZ.

June 4 in history – Emily Davison


Emily Davison, a suffragette was struck by King George V’s horse at Epsom on Derby Day 1913. She died four days later.

On a happier note for women’s rights, on this day in 1919 the United States’ senate voted for the 19th amendment  to the Constitution which gave women the right to vote.

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