Milking it for publicity

August 6, 2009

Idealog called it an udderly odd commercial:


A red faced blue

August 6, 2009

Since kiwiblog: won’t even mention how she was alseep in her room when they awarded her the prize 🙂 I thought I’d give my side of the story:

Travelling for more than 36 hours is not the best preparation for a conference.

Our journey back from Europe started on a train from Verona on Thursday morning and finished with a flight which arrived in Christchurch at 9am on Saturday, half an hour ahead of schedule.

That gave us time to get a taxi to the hotel, shower, change clothes and sneak into the back of the National Party’s annual conference just a few minutes after it opened at 10am.

By lunchtime the travel and time difference were catching up on us. We wanted to listen to Bill English, the first speaker for the afternoon, but when that speech finished my farmer retired for a siesta and I followed a few minutes later.

In the normal course of events no-one would have noticed but shortly after I left  party president Judy Kirk announced the presentation of the Sir George Chapman Cup for service to the party.

Sir George, a former party president,  walked on to the stage while Judy outlined the recipient’s contribution to National in such a way that the identity of winner wasn’t obvious until very near the end of what she was saying.

Because we’d arrived late we’d been at the back of the hall, not with the with rest of the electorate. When the friends I’d been sitting with realised the winner was going to me, one sneaked up to let my MP, Jacqui Dean, know I wasn’t there. She accepted the cup on my behalf and in doing so explained why I needed a siesta .

On Sunday morning,  Judy started proceedings by announcing that since I was now awake, Sir George would do the presentation again. Which he did with great charm.

I’ve listened in admiration in past years as the contributions of  the winners were read out, never thinking that one day the cup might go to me and I am still somewhat overawed that it has.

Recognition of service and commitment in this way usually comes when someone retires. Doing it while the recipient is still actively involved is a very clever ploy because now I’ll have to ensure I justify the honour that’s been bestowed on me.


Editorials on Field

August 6, 2009

The ODT  says:

However much it might be argued that he was a victim of cultural difference, as an MP he swore an oath to uphold New Zealand law.

He therefore knew the rules and the borders that cannot be crossed.

His peers have judged that he knowingly broke those rules and crossed those borders: if he is a victim, it is of his own arrogance, his own greed and his own lust for status.

The Press says:

For all the shallow cynicism that New Zealanders like to profess towards their politicians, it is undeniable that the country has possibly the least corrupt politics of anywhere in the world.. .

Among the most shameful aspects of this sorrowful affair was the attempt by the Labour government of the time, when the scandal first made the headlines, to trivialise it. . .

. . . Labour’s foot-dragging was dictated by a desire not to offend an important political constituency. But whatever the motive, it was not good enough. The country’s political and administrative integrity will only be preserved by constant vigilance. If there is a lesson to be drawn from Field’s sad case, it is that when such allegations arise they must be dealt with vigorously and promptly.

Sadly, the affair reflects badly not only on Field, but on those politicians who put pragmatism and keeping his vote ahead of principle, and tried to close the issue down rather than do the right thing. Miss Clark was initially dismissive, using her favoured “move along, nothing to see here” strategy. When people didn’t, she launched a narrow inquiry under Noel Ingram QC.

Despite the constraints on Dr Ingram and a distinct lack of co-operation from some of those involved his report made it clear that something was terribly amiss in the way Field had been handling immigration issues to everyone but Labour MPs, that is. They continued to defend him. . .

. . . Under Parliament’s own rules, all members are deemed to be honourable members. Field’s corruption has shown that up as the fiction it always was. His Labour colleagues’ handling of it simply added to the insult of his crime.

The Herald says:

The verdict says we have a culture of public service that allows no favours in return, and that is a culture that rules all.

Summing that up:

MPs must obey New Zealand law regardless of what is acceptable in their own countries and cultures; we are still one of the least corrupt countries in the world and Labour is tarnished by this sorry episode too.


Two new blogs

August 6, 2009

Comparablog – looking at NZ politics from a comparative perspective. The About page says it seeks to inform and provoke political thought and debate by comparing political phenomena in New Zealand and overseas.

Waitaki Blog   Waitaki District deputy Mayor Gary Kircher posts on local body and Waitaki District issues and politics. He was a commercial photographer and the site includes some of his shots.


Fewer ewes but more lambs expected

August 6, 2009

It’s less than 20 years since New Zealanders had more than 20 sheep each – there more around 70 million sheep and only 3 million people.

The human population has risen to more than 4 million and the ovine population is now around half what it was at its peak so we now have fewer than 8 sheep each.

Meat and Wool New Zealand’s latest survey  records a total sheep population of just 33.14 million.

The ewe population has dropped 3.4% in the past year to 22.7 million, the lowest since 1951-52. The number of hoggets dropped 2% to 9.4 million.

The decline in numbers was casued by drought and dairy conversions. But in spite of fewer ewes and hoggets this season’s lamb crop is expected to increase 2.1% to 27.81 million.

Beef cattle numbers also dropped. There were 40.7 million of them at the end of June, 1.7% fewer than last year.

The fall in numbers while demand for lamb remains firm should give farmers reasonable prices this season.

But price rises based on falling supply aren’t nearly as good for the long term health of the meat industry as those based on increased demand.

Falling numbers will also focus attention on the problem of excess capacity at freezing works.


Speaking of rorts . . .

August 6, 2009

. . . what about the money which goes to Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne because they’re leaders of parties?

The taxpayer largesse enjoyed by Jim Anderton is particularly inappropriate now he’s told the few sad remnants of his fan club that they should join the Labour Party and he’s its agriculture spokesman.

While everyone’s looking at reviews, perhaps one could be held on what’s required for registration as a political party.

A one man vanity vehicle is not a party and 500 members is a very low hurdle for a group to jump to enable it to gain registration.


August 6 in history

August 6, 2009

On August 6:

1809 Alfred Lord Tennyson was born.

 

1825 Bolivia gained independence from Spain.

1936 Jack Lovelock won a gold medal in the 1500 metre run at the Berlin Olympics.

1962 Jamaica gained independence.


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