Richard Worth has resigned from parliament


Richard Worth has resigned from parliament.

Dr Worth, who entered Parliament in 1999, said he had gone for the good of the National Party.

“Since I resigned as a Cabinet Minister earlier this month, I have been considering my personal options, and also the welfare of the National Party – a party which I love and have served to the best of my ability for the past nine years.

 “As a result, I have today also resigned as a list Member of Parliament with immediate effect.

“It would be easy for me to be bitter about the avalanche of rumour and innuendo that has led me into making this decision which I regard as being in the best interests of my party.

“I wish only to restate that I have not committed any crime, and I remain confident that when the true facts are established I will be cleared of any and all allegations of criminal conduct. I will steadfastly defend myself in respect of those allegations. But it is impossible to defend oneself in the public and political arena against hearsay, character assassination and scuttlebutt.”

Whatever truth there may or may not be in the allegations concerning him, resigning was the right thing to do because continuing in politics would have brought attacks on him and the National Party.

He was a lsit MP so the next person on National’s list, Cam Calder, will be offered Worth’s seat. He was briefly in parliament after the election but lost his palce after special votes were counted and the Greens got an extra seat at national’s expense.

The person on the list after that is Conway Powell.

Kiwiblog has Richard Worth’s  media statement.

Sound of Silence


One of the annual inter-house fixtures at Waitaki Girls’ High School was the choir contest.

My house, Gibson, chose to sing Sound of Silence in 1974 – but I don’t think we did it quite as well as Simon and Garfunkel.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree


It’s William Butler Yeats’ birthday tomorrow which led me to The Lake Isle of Innisfree  for Friday’s poem.

I found it in Palgrave’s Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics.

                 The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

          – William Butler Yeats –

Wool natural option for insulation


Federated Farmers saw an opportunity for wool  in the Budget funding for home insulation and Wool Partners has followed up with a fact sheet on its benefits.

Among them are:

* Wool is a natural insulator.

* It’s healthy because it’s bio-degradable and non-toxic.

* Wool is a natural air conditioner, moderates humidity and act as a natural filter.

* It’s safer than synthetic insulation because it’s fire retardant.

*It’s environmentallyf reindly because it’s a natural, renewable and sustainable resource.

* Wool insulation gives value for money.

Wool insulation has been around for some years but is still a very small player in the market.

However, a growing demand for natural products combined with the government’s insulation scheme might provide a boost for companies like Terra Lana.

Swine flu pandemic official


The World Health Organisation has declared a swine-flu pandemic, the first gobal flu pandemic for 41 years.

WHO director general, Dr Margaret Chan, said:

The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.

We are in the earliest days of the pandemic. The virus is spreading under a close and careful watch.

No previous pandemic has been detected so early or watched so closely, in real-time, right at the very beginning. The world can now reap the benefits of investments, over the last five years, in pandemic preparedness.

We have a head start. This places us in a strong position. But it also creates a demand for advice and reassurance in the midst of limited data and considerable scientific uncertainty.

Thanks to close monitoring, thorough investigations, and frank reporting from countries, we have some early snapshots depicting spread of the virus and the range of illness it can cause.

We know, too, that this early, patchy picture can change very quickly. The virus writes the rules and this one, like all influenza viruses, can change the rules, without rhyme or reason, at any time.

In a media release yesterday, Health Minsiter Tony Ryall said that when WHO escalated its response there would be no need for as significant change in what was being done here. The focus was on containment.

The first concern is for health but there will also be economic costs through people having to take time off work and, while WHO is not advising any restrictions on travel, the pandemic is likely to lead to a downturn in tourism.

Fish & Game’s failed court bid could be costly


The ODT reports that Fish and Game’s failed challenge to pastoral lessees’ property rights could cost it a six-figure sum.

The two respondents to the High Court action instigated by Fish and Game, the High Country Accord, representing pastoral lessees, and their landlord, Land Information New Zealand (Linz), have both said they are seeking reimbursement of their costs.

The High Country Accord has said the case cost it $250,000, while Linz would not reveal its costs or how much it was seeking from the action heard by the High Court in Wellington.

While Fish and Game is not funded by taxpayers, it gets its money from the sale of fishing and hunting licences, it is a public entity, established by statute, which reports to the Minister of Conservation.

Its attempt to gain public access to pastoral lease properties was in effect one public body taking another to court.

It wasted money which should have been spent managing, enhancing and and maintaining sports fish and game in that action and it’s now likely that much more of the licence fees paid by anglers and hunters will go towards reimbursing the costs of the respondents.

Super sense


The ODT editorial makes a sensible contribution to discussions on superannuation.

Of the Superannuation Fund it says:

Its principal weakness was its potential impact on future Budgets and future superannuation payments in times of economic gloom, for the first decision in any future Budget for the next 25 years will be the call on superannuation funds, not less than $2 billion every time, and such a burden will inevitably have an impact on other spending plans.

It has not taken long for negative circumstances to arise or for a government to have to face the unpalatable.

. . . The Treasurer’s decision to suspend contributions is correct because it makes no sense to continue with borrowed money. The Cullen scheme was designed only to soak up surpluses – to keep the “savings” in the bank, so to speak.

Borrowing to invest isn’t sensible for individuals, it makes even less sense for governments.

The editorial goes on to say there has been an encouraging response towards saving more from young people with good incomes but older people with little earning time left before they retire and people with little disposable income to save don’t have this option.

The editorial then canvases the idea of increasing the age of eligibility.

But, as a correspondent to our letters column noted, not everyone makes their income sitting at a computer desk; many spend their lives in hard, physical work, and the prospect of still having to do that at 68 to even 70 before being eligible for superannuation is, at the very least, disheartening.

Two of our staff would be affronted by the suggestion they’d be too old for physical work at 68 or 70.

One came to do three days tractor work for us in 1989 and never left. He turned 79 a couple of months ago, still works fulltime and has no intention of retiring soon.

Another is 77 and dags thousands of sheep a week, though he doesn’t work fulltime – he takes Wednesday afternoon off to play bridge.

A prudent person, perhaps now in their 20s or 30s, should realise there is a high probability universal state superannuation is unsustainable in its present form; that it is a false mindset to assume because people have paid their taxes they will get state superannuation; that superannuation will inevitably be means tested and the retirement age extended. It is a sobering but realistic prospect.

Another option for making superannuation more secure is to follow the suggestion made by Gareth Morgan to wind up the Superfund and pay it in to individual KiwiSaver accounts.

That might not be easy to do, but it would take the politics out of the issue because no politician would suggest meddling with individuals’ retirement savings.

June 12 in history


On June 12:

In 1887 Johanna Spyri, the author of Heidi, was born.

In 1929 Anne Frank was born.


In 1964 Nelson Mandela was sentenced to live in prison.

Nelson Mandela

WHO meets to discuss pandemic announcement for swine flu


The World Health Orgnaisation is meeting to discuss upgrading Swine flu to pandemic  status.

A couple of days ago WHO reported that 74 countries had reported 27,737 cases of swine flu (H1N1) and that 41 people had died as a result of it.

A map showing its spread is here.

Macdoctor gives his 11th Swine flu update here.

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