Putting us in our place


Scrubone has posted his first draft putting us in our place on the political spectrum.

Of the eight bloggers categorised one is authoritorian left, two are authoritorian right and the rest are liberal right.

Contrast that with No Right Turn’s graphing the NZ blogosphere in 2003 – one left and one right authoritarian; 13 liberal right one liberal centre and 26 authoritarian   liberal left.

I recognise only a handful of those 2003 blogs, one of those is Big News who was liberal left then and is now authoritarian left.

Common sense and compassion rule eventually


Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman is not impressed by his Department’s decision to force a pregnant Lithuanian woman on a visitor’s permit to leave the country.

“I believe that declining the permit was a poor decision by the department. I am pleased that common sense has prevailed and that the woman has now been issued a permit allowing her to stay in New Zealand.”

A recent Auditor-General’s report into Immigration New Zealand raised serious concerns about the quality of decision making processes within the organisation, and found an unacceptable variation in quality of decision making between branches.

The original decision showed neither compassion nor common sense and was made in the face of medical advice which said travel would endanger both the woman and her baby.

The Department might get a little credit for changing its mind but the stupidity of the original decision shows the AG was right to be concerned.

Is this case diferent from not granting a student visa to a Korean woman who was here on a visitor’s visa when she was pregnant?

Yes, because it was much earlier in the pregnancy and there was no danger to her her or her baby. There is no automatic right to a student’s visa and turning down an application for one from a pregnant visitor is quite different from telling someone who already has a student visa she can’t stay because she’s pregnant.

Had the father of the baby been a New Zealander there would have been a strong case for allowing the mother to stay, but he was a visitor too.

Feeling Groovy


Does anyone say groovy any more?

It was the word of the moment way back in the late 60s and early 70s when Simon and Garfunkel were singing The 59th Street Bridge Song/Feeling Groovy.

Hide wants councils to stick to knitting


Barrow pushers and empire builders won’t be impressed by Rodney Hide’s mission to ensure local authroities stick to their core activities.

But ratepayers increasingly concerned by rate rises which far exceed inflation will breathe a sigh of relief.

The Waitaki District recently announced a relatively modest overall increase of 3.6% for rates this year but that’s the lowest it’s been for ages and one of the lowest in the country.

Steep rises haven’t been altogether the fault of councils, they’ve had to take on responsibilities which were Central Government’s but only rarely given sufficient, if any, assistance for funding them.

But the power of general competence which the previous government gave local authorities has also led some councils into activities which have been costly and anything but competent.

Hide’s intention for councils to stick to their knitting is welcome, even if there is not yet an agreement over which pattern they should follow.

Donald Duck debut


It’s Donald Duck’s 75th anniversary.

He made his debut in The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. From where was the telegram alerting the world to the death of Robert Falcon Scott and his party in Antarctica sent?

2. Who wrote The Dot?

3. Who said: The cow is of the bovine ilk;/One end is moo, the other milk?

4. Which city would I be in if I was standing on the north bank of the Firth of Tay?

5. These are the flags of which countries:


Congratulations, and an electronic bunch of flowers to Ray who got 5/5.

Kismet gets a couple of points for getting two answers right and Inventory 2 gets one for trying,

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

What were they looking for?


Among the information available to bloggers is search engine terms people use to find you.

Usually these are fairly predictable but every now and then some strange ones turn up.

Today among the usual terms was: stomach bug related to sceptic fosse.

I wonder what prompted the search, what the searcher was  looking for, and if s/he found it.

Feds deliver WSJ barracking to Obama


Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson has not just delivered a barracking to US President Barack Obama, he’s done it in the Wall Street Journal.

The government has to be diplomatic, but Nicolson pulls no punches in an opinion piece headlined Milking Trade Subsidies.

Less than six months into his new administration, President Barack Obama has already managed to spark a trade war with Mexico over trucking. Protectionist measures like quotas on Chinese tires could be on the cards, too. Now, newly expanded milk subsidies also threaten both America’s reputation and its trade leadership.

Last month the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, implemented the Dairy Export Incentive Program, or DEIP. Under the program, re-authorized by Congress in last year’s Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pays subsidies — euphemistically described as “bonuses” — to cover the difference between American farmers’ cost of production and prevailing international prices.

While DEIP is legal in the U.S., its implementation is a political decision. In the past, annual dairy export DEIP “bonus” values have ranged from about $20 million up to $140 million. While these are miniscule figures for the U.S., the payments distort the international price of dairy products. The first post-DEIP auction price for whole milk powder, conducted earlier this month, fell by 12% — the biggest price reversal since February.

Nicolson explains the negative impact subsidies have on consumers everywhere.

In the U.S., DEIP means American families pay higher taxes to support subsidized dairy farmers, wiping out any savings they might enjoy from lower dairy prices. As in other countries, subsidies effectively shield farmers from true competition. Higher prices always result, and this price increase is passed straight onto consumers. There’s nothing inherently “fair” about any form of subsidy.

Just as relevant, especially given Mr. Obama’s stated desire to improve America’s image abroad, is how unfair this subsidy is to dairy farmers in countries like mine, New Zealand. We’re the world’s second-largest dairy exporter, after the EU and ahead of the U.S. And we’ve reached that market position without any farm subsidies whatsoever.

Nicolson explains how subsidies were dropped in New Zealand in 1985 and while painful at the time, the agricultural sector is stronger now its standing on its own feet and has bettered productivity growth in every other sector in all but two of the last 27 years.

Now programs like DEIP are punishing us for our hard-won success.

Nicolson is justifiably proud that the WSJ accepted his column.

“Writing a letter to President Barack Obama was one thing. Getting wider attention on this most important issue is another.

“That’s why the Wall Street Journal was the logical choice. It’s the trade paper of American commerce and one of the most respected newspapers in the world. It has genuine gravitas with U.S. policy makers.

“It’s an honour and a bit of a coup really that Federated Farmers has had such a topical piece accepted. The timing is ideal, given it coincides with the Cairns Group meeting being attended by U.S. trade representative, Ron Kirk and the World Trade Organisation’s Director-General, Pascal Lamy.

“New Zealand and its farmers are up against a powerful U.S. dairy lobby that’s only interested in keeping its subsidies. Hopefully this opinion piece will give U.S. policy makers time to pause, think and reconsider what folly it really is. . .

“Federated Farmers is acting proactively to protect farm viability and the returns that New Zealand’s dairy farmers receive. Unless subsidies and protectionism is nipped in the bud, history tells us they’ll expand and morph into other areas. 

This more than justifies the subscription Feds charges its members and any farmer who isn’t a member should sign up because of this.

Feds has leapt gumboot deep into the slugde of growing subsidies and need our support to carry on the fight.

Hat Tip: The Bull Pen

June 9 in history


Roman Emperor Nero married on June 9, AD 53  and committed suicide on this day 15 years later.

Bust of Nero at Musei Capitolini, Rome

In 1928 Charles Kingsford Smith completed the first trans-Pacific flight.


Kingsford Smith in his flying gear

Composer and song writer Cole Porter was born in1891.


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