Tuning in to fun


Anyone who’s had anything to do with children knows that your chances of getting them to do something are greater if they think it’s fun.

It works with adults too.

Making it fun is much more likely to get people to do the right thing than regulations and sermons.

You can preach about behavioural changes or follow Volkswagon and get a serious message across with fun as it has through its website:   The Fun Theory where it says:

This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

I especially liked this idea of tuning in to fun for health’s sake:

Hat Tip: Motella

Turner receives PM’s Literary Award


Central Otago poet Brian Turner  is one of three recipients of the 2009 Prme Minister’s Literary Achievement Awards.

The other two awards went to  C. K. Stead for fiction writing and Dr Ranginui Walker for nonfiction.

Although he is probably best known for his poetry, and was the 2003 Te Mata Estate poet Laureate, he is also a much-published essayist and biographer.

Many of his poems are set in or about the South Island, particularly Central Otago. Many are also philosophical, like Home Hills Road, from his most recent collection  Taking Off.  It finishes:

Let art do us more good than harm/is my prayer for those who would apprehend/and make it staunch, a lifelong friend.

Alison Holst’s Complete Cooking Class


Several of the 60 or so recipe books which crowd the shelf in my kitchen are Alison Holst’s.

From the small paper back one for using food processors – a birthday gift nearly three decades ago when kitchen whizzes were new – to the large, hard back Ultimate Collection.

Then there’s her Complete Cooking Class. It’s full of reliable, easy to follow recipes with ingredients which are usually on hand or easy to find.

The tatty cover is testament to the amount of use it gets.

dairy 10007

Over at In A Strange Land Deborah posts on Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy.

Post 29 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge

book month logo green

Shoot the lot


Dear Lord Stern,

Re your suggestion that the whole world should go vegetarian to save the planet.

Why don’t you just shoot all the people?

It would be kinder than letting millions die of starvation which is what would happen if we took your idea seriously.

Yours sincerely



If you don’t like my suggestion you may be interested in:

Inquiring Mind where Adam Smith posts on how Coppenhagen could threaten NZ’s very future.

Farmgirllive who says it’s time to get serious about countering this silliness.

Liberty Scott who says Lord Stern loses the plot some more.

and Fairfacts Media who urges Go on have that extra steak.

Ecan under review


Being caught between two regional councils has little to recommend it.

Two sets of rules and two sets of people to deal with adds to costs, delays and frustrations.

With some of its catchment coming under the Otago Regional Council and the rest under Environment Canterbury, the Waitaki District Council, and its residents, are able to compare the two authorities.

Time after time, they have more problems with ECan than with the ORC.

Difficulty dealing with ECan is not peculiar to the WDC. Other local authorities and ratepayers have also had problems and 10 mayors wrote to government with their criticisms.

Environment Minister Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide have ordered two inquiries into ECan. One under the Resource Management Act which will look at its resource consent performance. The other under the Local Government Act will look at governance and policy functions.

Newly elected chair Alec Neill has responded sensibly  to this:

“Since I was elected, I have made it very clear that the council will work constructively with both central government and local councils,” he said.

Asked by the Otago Daily Times if he agreed with the ministers’ comment about “poor performance”, Mr Neill said he wanted answers rather than deny the council may have problems.

He was not going to get into “slagging matches” with the ministers.

The Government had information regarding ECan’s performance with resource consents.

In the 2007-08 financial year it was ranked the worst of 84 local authorities by processing only 29% of consents on time.

Since then, it had made changes which had dramatically im-proved its performance.

“I’m not in denial. There have been areas which have been unsatisfactory. If there remain areas which are unsatisfactory, I’m anxious for those to be addressed,” he said.

Regional Councils have wide ranging powers. Any problems they have internally or in dealings with other local authorities and the public add to costs and frustrations.

Mr Neill has met all mayors in the region since his election and there is more confidence that relationships between ECan and other councils will improve.

Regional Councils are supposed to be putting their energies into ensuring soil, air and water are protected, not wasting their time and our money on politics as has been happening. These reviews will help get Ecan’s focus back where it ought to be.

AG – better rules needed


The Auditor General has ruled there are no grounds for an inquiry into Finance Minister Bill English’s housing arrangements.

However, the AG says the rules need to be improved and recommends:

that the aim be to develop a simple and sensible system for providing MPs and Ministers with appropriate support for the costs of their accommodation while in Wellington. The system should be:

  • clear and well explained;
  • grounded in principle, with a clear purpose and scope;
  • controlled by appropriate checks and limits;
  • transparent; and
  • seamless for those receiving the support, whether they are an MP or a Minister.

As with the administration of all public money, the system should also reflect the fundamental principles of accountability, transparency, fairness, and value for money. We emphasise that the system needs to be able to be understood not only by those administering it, but also by those to whom service is being provided, and by the general public who fund it.

We endorse the new practice of publicly releasing information at regular intervals on the various support arrangements for MPs and Ministers that are being funded by the public purse. It is an important step towards better transparency and accountability.

It is in the best interests of MPs and the public to have clear rules.

MPs should not be out of pocket if they have to maintain a house in their electorate and Wellington. However, Bill has decided that he will not receive any allowance, although he could legitimately claim one or live in a ministerial house at greater cost to the taxpayer.

“I’m determined to continue focusing on the things that matter to this Government – helping Kiwis into jobs and managing the economic recovery.

“To that end, I took the personal decision last month to voluntarily repay all of the housing allowance I’ve received since the election. I’m now receiving no housing allowance – that’s my decision.”

Bill has been exonerated by the Auditor General. He has also made the right decision on this.

Running the country and getting the economy growing again are too important to be distracted by sideshows generated by the opposition which is making personal attacks because they have nothing political to get their teeth in to.

October 29 in history


On October 29:

1618 English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.

1740  James Boswell, Scottish biographer of Samuel Johnson was born.

1787 Mozart‘s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.

1863 Twenty seven countries meeting in Geneva agreed to form the International Red Cross.

Flag of the ICRC.svg

1886 The first ticker-tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously threw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

1891 US singer and comiedienne,  Fanny Brice, was born.


1894 SS Wiararapa was wrecked on Great Barrier Island.

1897  Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda was born.

1923 Turkey beccame a republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

1947 Richard Dreyfuss, American actor, was born.

1956  Suez Crisis began: Israeli forces invaded the Sinai Peninsula and pushed Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal.

1964  Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the Republic of Tanzania.

1969 The first-ever computer-to-computer link was established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.

1971 Winona Ryder, American actress, was born.

1995 Forgotten Silver hoax was screened.

2004 In Rome, European heads of state signed the Treaty and Final Act establishing the first European Constitution.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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