On the moooove

November 2, 2009

He(a)rd about the cows found wandering round North Shore?

There are 25 which were supposedly dumped on council land near Torbay.

Where did they come from?

How did they get there?

Who helped them get there?

Did nobody notice them getting there?

I hope they’re not overdue for milking.


Help those in need not want

November 2, 2009

What is wrong with encouraging people who don’t need a benefit to find a job?

That doesn’t mean that those who are in genuine need of state assistance shouldn’t get it, and get it long term if necessary.

It just means that those who no longer need it should be encouraged towards independence.

But if people on the DPB and sickness or invalids benefits will be expected to stand on their own feet so too must others.

Turning middle and upper income earners into beneficiaries as Working for Families does was never a good idea.

Continuing to give people in want money from the public purse when people in need are being encouraged to look after themselves can not be justified.


Monday’s Quiz

November 2, 2009

1. Where and when was Anchor butter launched.

2. What is a piwakawaka?

3.  Who said: “If you find it hard to laugh at yourself I would be happy to do it for you.”?

4. Who wrote the poem, Milking Before Dawn?

5. What does  sinistrorse mean?


3 out of 3’s not good

November 2, 2009

An opposition party desperate for publicity would normally be pleased that three of the country’s biggest papers devoted their editorials to it.

But Labour wouldn’t be celebrating the editorial round ups they were given last week.

The ODT editorial was headlined Earning Trust:

It damns Phil Goff with faint praise, says the team he leads is shy on talent then gets to the nub of the matter:

 One reason delaying its return is the question of trust.

There were sufficient numbers of dodgy practices by Labour when in government to help speed the party’s exit from power; any attempted repetition of that behaviour so early in its term of Opposition should be a dominating concern of Mr Goff and his colleagues.

The Dominion Post’s editorial was headed No shortcuts for labour’s sinners.

The party’s MPs have lost touch with the voters who elected three straight Labour-led governments.

If they were doing their jobs, the MPs would know, from their daily contact with constituents and interest groups, what the pressing issues are.

Labour’s MPs resemble grumpy, disinherited members of the landed gentry who have been turfed out of their comfy gentlemen’s club for not paying their subscriptions and are trying to fast talk their way back in past the doorman.

But there are no shortcuts. If Labour’s MPs want to regain the good opinion of the public, they will have to earn it.

Voters are drawn to politicians who seek to serve their (voters’) interests. They are repelled by politicians who seek to serve their own interests.

The Herald on Sunday editorial was headlined Labour lose moral compass:

Barker has acted dishonestly.

Hughes has sacrificed principle for patsy-ism.

Goff has just cowered and, when confronted by political reporters outside the Labour Caucus room with nowhere to hide, obfuscated.

Labour’s leader must now stand up and take responsibility for the deception that was conducted with funds entrusted to him by Parliament.

Barker should be sacked from all his Caucus responsibilities. Hughes, too, must be left in no doubt about how repugnant his rationalisations are.

These, then, are the simple truths that are demanded of Labour’s tarnished leadership.

And these are the truths Labour has forgotten.

Using public money for party polling was wrong, but it’s Labour’s response to it which has kept the issue live and raised issues about integrity which won’t be countered easily.

Parties have to earn public trust before they win votes and Labour spent last week showing once again why it can’t be trusted.

As Meat Loaf might have sung: We don’t like them, we don’t trust them, we don’t want them and three out of three’s not good.


Not easy no excuse not to try

November 2, 2009

The government is planning to tweak benefits to encourage people back into work.

On Q&A yesterday:

GUYON So this is quite interesting, it’s something we haven’t heard before, you are going to Cabinet with the policy to again send young mums who are on the DPB out to work when their child reaches a certain age, and to tighten the eligibility perhaps around sickness benefits or to reduce that in some way?

BILL Well these are policies consistent with the undertakings we made when we were in opposition.

GUYON But they’re back on the cards now that things are picking up a bit?

BILL That’s right yeah, we’ve always felt that we could do a better job of making sure people had more incentive about getting off welfare to make sure it’s a bit more difficult to get on those longer term benefits, because once people are on those they’re pretty much trapped out of participation in the work force.

Guyon is wrong about not hearing this before, as Bill said this was National’s election policy.

Not being new won’t stop criticism of it.

However, what the critics overlook is that while benefits help people in the short term it’s not good for the recipients or society if people who could work stay on them for years.

Finding work which is flexible enough to fit around child care needs for single parents isn’t easy. But not being easy isn’t an excuse for not trying.


Hungry for change

November 2, 2009

Food Inc is a documentary about food production in the USA.

It wasn’t a pretty picture. It highlighted animal cruelty, exploitation of workers and contractors, poor hygiene and corporate greed resulting in unhealthy food.

I don’t know how representative it is of practices there. But it’s not representative of sheep and beef production In New Zealand and that may provide an opportunity for our produce.

Almost all our stock is free range, grazing outside all year and most of the supplements they get in winter are hay, silage or baleage grown on farm or in the neighbourhood.

Non-tariff barriers require very high standards of animal welfare and hygiene from our processors.

Most of our stock is processed by farmer-owned co-operatives and neighter producers nor manufacturers here have the political clout that the film showed they do in the USA either.

We haven’t had subsidies for more than 20 years and that might be part of the answer for another problem highlighted in the film.

Cheapness of corn was blamed for the poor nutritional value of food but if it wasn’t subsidised it would be more expensive and therefore less attractive to manufacturers.

The film’s catch phrase was hungry for change. The change it is campaigning for is what we New Zealand farmers do naturally.


November 2 in history

November 2, 2009

On November 2:

1755 – Marie Antoinette, Queen of France was born.

1868  New Zealand officially adopted a standard time to be observed nationally

1898  Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota with Johnny Campbell leading the crowd in cheering on the football team.

1899  The Boers began their 118 day siege of British held Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.

1913  Burt Lancaster, American actor, was born.

 

1917 The Balfour Declaration proclaimed British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”.

1930 Haile Selassie was crowned emperor of Ethiopia.

1936 The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was established.

The current logo of CBC/Radio-Canada

1936  Italian dictator Benito Mussolini proclaimed the Rome-Berlin Axis, establishing the alliance of the Axis Powers.

1936 The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, high-definition (then defined as at least 200 lines) service.

1938 – Queen Sofia of Spain was born.

1942 At El Alamein in Egypt, the 2nd New Zealand Division opened the way for British armour, allowing the Allies to force a breakthrough and send the Axis forces into retreat.

1942  Shere Hite, American author, was born.

1947 Designer Howard Hughes made the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose; the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.

 

1960 Penguin Books was found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

Penguin logo.png

1961 – K.D.(Kathryn Dawn) Lang, Canadian musician, was born.

1983 U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

1988 The Morris worm, the first internet-distributed computer worm to gain significant mainstream media attention, is launched from MIT.


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