Adios, Anna

December 1, 2009

One blog often leads to another. 

Usually it’s a single, fleeting visit but  occasionally a post hooks you and you become a regular reader.

So it was with Annie Fox, the blog of Anna Woolf.

There among the posts on politics, people and places were many on her experiences with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

They were written with humour, honesty and courage.

Although I knew Anna only through her blog, I was really sad to read at Not PC that she has been transferred to a hospice.

Anna wrote realistically and without self pity about her symptoms, treatment, side effect and prognosis. She has been an inspiration.

Gracias y adios.



Born Free

December 1, 2009

Matt Monro would have been 79 today.

The film Born Free was released when I was at primary school, inspiring a genre of Safari games and dreams – which I eventually outgrew – of living in Africa.

The Rose

December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Bette Midler – 65 today.

Tuesday’s answers

December 1, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. What is a cutty sark (as distinct from the Cutty Sark)

2. Who is the patron saint of farmers? 

3. Who said, “There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.”?

4.Who wrote, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever?

5. What’s a kakaruwai?

Andrei got 2 which conincided with my answers. He also came up with four saints who concern themselves with farming matters, none of which was St Isodore which was my answer. But he’s a Catholic and got his from a book of saints and I’m a Presbyterian who got my answer from Wikipedia so I defer to him and award four bonuses.

Gravedodger got four right and a bonus for extra information for #1.

PDM gets 1/2. Cutty Sark is a brand of scotch but a (note the a) cutty sark (according to my father who was a Scot) is a short shirt.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Oamaru Mail goes online

December 1, 2009

The Oamaru Mail has gone online.

That was the paper which gave me my first job when I graduated from Canterbury University’s journalism school.

I wasn’t over enthusiastic about returning to the town I’d grown up in but it gave me a lot of experience I wouldn’t have got as a new reporter elsewhere. While classmates who started work on bigger papers got all the little stories I had three rounds of my own – farming, health and social welfare. I also had to do court and local body reporting when the chief reporter was away.

It was election year – 1981 – and among the people I interviewed were then deputy leader of the Labour Party, David Lange, and its president Jim Anderton.

The day the Prime Minister, Rob Muldoon was in town, Social Credit was having a meeting in Waimate. I had to go there to interview Bruce Beetham while the chief reporter covered Muldoon. 

The paper edition of the Mail is published Monday to Friday and it’s part of APN’s stable of regional newspapers.

Others are: Northern Advocate, The Aucklander, Bay of Plenty Times, Rotorua Daily Post, Hawkes Bay TodayStratford Press, Wairarapa Times-Age, Wanganui Chronicle and Star Canterbury.

Who’s got the rural power?

December 1, 2009

If I’d been compiling a Primary Sector Power List I’d have had Jacqueline Rowarth on it.

Director of Agriculture at Massey University and is the inaugural Federated Farmers’ agricultural personality of the year.

She was also one of the panelists who drew up the Listener’s 2009 Power List which is why she doesn’t appear on it.

The top spot on the Listener’s list of  people who wield the power in the primary sector went to Chris Kelly, Landcorp’s chief executive.

He’s followed by Henry Van der Heyden,  Peter and Andrew Talley, Alan Hubbard and Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper.

I wouldn’t have put anyone from SFF on that list. The company does very well with PR but its performance doesn’t match its rhetoric.

If you set aside the settlement from PGG Wrightson in compensation for the failed merger bid and other one-off payments the company’s operating profit for the year was only $5.1m.

Contrast that with Alliance Group which does very little PR but made an operating profit of $67.9m.

Sheep and beef farmers are very grumpy and with good reason. Last season’s long awaited increase in prices was short lived and this season’s forecasts aren’t looking very bright.  But most of the grumpiness and concern is from SFF shareholders and suppliers and I don’t think they’d be voting anyone from the company on to a power list.

Key tops Listener power list

December 1, 2009

It’s no surprise that Prime Minister John Key tops the Listener’s top 10 in its 2009 Power List.

The panel says he is:

being identified by leadership scholars as pioneering an entirely new style of political leadership in this country. Sceptics may cite his pragmatism as evidence of overt risk-aversion, but so far his reasonable, moderate demeanour and light-handed management has worked magic for the Government’s standing. He has been the polar opposite of Helen Clark, resisting both the micromanagement of others’ portfolios and playing favourites in the caucus. His cheerful tolerance of coalition partners’ ructions – “The bulk of people who come into politics have type-A personalities!” – has saved National from being embroiled in their crises.

Bill English is second followed by Alan Bollard, Rodney Hide, Steven Joyce and Rob Fyfe.

Then comes Michael Stiassny, the country’s senior receiver. The introduction to the list explains:

Perhaps the most telling detail about this year’s Power List . . .  is that a receiver (Micahel Stiassny) comes in at No 7. Yes, it has been a tough year; a year when debt became a dirty word, when old power bases were weakened by the recession. . .

Tariana Turia is ninth then John Whitehead and Peter Jackson. The top 10 has an 11th place – it’s filled by Phil Goff.

Then there’s those who have been delisted:

Craig Norgate who was 4th in the Business and economy section last year; Andrew West who was 3rd in agriculture  and Pat Snedden who was 4th in health and medicine.

The panel that selected the 2009 almanac of influence was chaired by Listener senior write Rebecca Macfie. Members were Lynn Freeman who hosts Radio NZ’s arts programme; Karl Du Fresne, Chris Wikaira, director of PR firm Busby Ramshaw Grice; Jane Clifton; Jacqueline Rowarth, Director of Agriculture at Massey; Bernard Hickey, Alan Isaac who chairs NZ Cricket, is a director of Wakefield Health, trsutee of NZ COmmunity Trust, chair of McGrathNicol & Co and advisor to Opus International; and Stephen Franks.

The full list and commentary won’t be online until Boxing Day. I subscribe to the magazine and if I didn’t I’d fork out the $3.90 for this issue.

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