My Fair Lady

June 10, 2010

Frederick Loewe was born on this day in 1901.

Red blood no excuse

June 10, 2010

When Sean Plunket asked  Shane Jones if he’d been watching pornographic movies and charging it to the taxpayer he said he couldn’t remember.

That sounded like an admission of guilt to me and belatedly he’s come clean:

I’m a red blooded adult, it shouldn’t have happened, it has happened, it doesn’t make me feel particularly worthy but I’m not going to hide from it.”

Since when has being red blooded been an excuse to watch pornographic movies and charge it to the taxpayer?

The continuing unveiling of  misuse of credit cards by ministers past and present reflects poorly on them all, but using the card  for porn paints a particularly nasty picture.

NZ’s Best Blog Award goes to . . .

June 10, 2010

The very worthy winner of the Air NZ Best Blog Award is: Cactus Kate.

Cactus Kate ( has won the New Zealand Bloggers’ Union’s inaugural Air New Zealand** Best Blog Award Dim Post . was runner up and No Right Turn ( and Whaleoil ( were awarded joint third place.; In A Strange Land (; Kiwianarama (; Liberation (; and Not PC (

The union launched the awards after another media awards competition, sponsored by a foreign budget airline that uses decrepit Boeing 767s for its Trans-Tasman services and doesn’t even have proper lie-flat beds in Business Class, failed to follow its own criteria in selecting its short list. . . .

. . . In awarding the Supreme Award to Cactus Kate, the judges described the blog as: “Intelligent, persuasive and influential, with the sort of investigative journalism Metro should be publishing. This is a blog which has contributed to changes in the administration of some of New Zealand’s most important regulatory bodies, as well as providing a healthy degree of humour.”

In awarding the Runner Up Award to Dim Post, the judges described the blog as: “Genuinely world-class political satire on matters both weighty and absurd, delivered almost every day. While clearly demonstrating a centre-left perspective, the writer also has the ability to surprise with unpredictable ideas.”

The judges said they struggled most with the choice between No Right Turn and Whaleoil for third place.

Commenting on Whaleoil, the judges said: “While the writer’s vitriol can be distasteful and his spelling and grammar sometimes leaves much to be desired, Whaleoil is the ultimate right wing blogger, delivering scorching critiques of current issues every day, and undoubtedly influencing real political events.”

Commenting on No Right Turn, the judges said: “While there is some doubt about the degree to which the blog has influenced real events and the lack of a comments option could be seen as against the spirit of blogging, No Right Turn provides extremely well researched and well-written contributions – with a decent dose of hard-left anger – on a very wide range of political, social, constitutional and human rights issues.”

The judges recommended that Whaleoil consider investing in a more advanced spell and grammar check program and that No Right Turn consider opening up his site to community discussion.

Congratulations to the winners, placegetters and NZ Bloggers Union which took the suggestion of better blog awards and made it happen, with panache and humour.

And well done Air NZ on not being upset by having its name and CEO associated with the wards without their knowledge.

The judges comments on all 30 nominees are worth a read too in spite of – or some might say because of –  the comments about this blog.

Snail mail matters in the country

June 10, 2010

Rural mail contractors don’t just bring us the post, they deliver newspapers, courier packages and junk mail too.

It wouldn’t matter if the junk mail came less often, or if it didn’t come at all. But losing Saturday delivery of the paper would be a nuisance and dropping mail deliveries to just three days a week would cause major inconvenience.

Prime Minister John Key and Communications Minister Steven Joyce are wary of the suggestion by New Zealand Post that Saturday mail deliveries might stop or deliveries drop to three days a week.

However, NZ Post is an SOE and the decision is up to its board, not politicians.

Increasing use of the internet and other forms of electronic communication is a major reason people are using snail mail less.

My mother used to write to extended family and friends frequently and when my brothers and I left home we got a letter once a week. It would be rare for anyone to send anything by post that often now when phone calls are much cheaper than they used to be and texts, email, Facebook and other electronic means of communication offer convenient alternatives to letters.

We still send and receive invoices and cheques through the mail but but not nearly as much as we used to because electronic invoicing and payments are replacing paper ones.

We get more give away papers than in the past too – which I see as a sign the rural economy is rebounding; but we get only one daily paper – the ODT – where we used to get The Press as well. Our mail doesn’t arrive until sometime after lunch and we found we’d caught up with most of the news from the radio or internet so were giving the second paper insufficient attention to justify the cost.

We still read the ODT properly but if it came only three times a week we might not which, if others followed suit, would hurt the paper and add to the list of items no longer being delivered by mail.

Alternatives to snail mail are serious competition for NZ Post but reducing service will make it worse.

NZ Post should be working on ways to encourage greater use of its delivery service rather than throwing in the towel and hastening its demise.

Why so slow to confess? – updated

June 10, 2010

Why are the MPs so slow to confess they misued their credit cards?

Thanks to the media who used the Official Information Act to question spending on minsiterial credit cards, all expenditure on ministerial credit cards has just been revealed.

As I type reporters are rifling through nine boxes of records but so far only Shane Jones and Chris Carter have confessed they used public fund for private purchases.

Mis-spending public money was wrong, not fronting up and repaying the money when they knew it was about to become public is stupid.


10.15AM: Former Labour Minister Chris Carter records show he spent $607.79 on kitchenware on a 2003 trip to London that was posted back to New Zealand.

After details of his kitchenware purchase were posted on Stuff this morning, Mr Carter phoned Fairfax to defend the payment and said the purchase from Politico’s of London was in fact for Labour Party posters for his office and Labour party mugs.  There had never been any suggestion from Ministerial Services officials that the spending was outside the rules.

I find spending public money on party purchases even worse than spending it on private ones.

The winner of the Best Blog Award is . . .

June 10, 2010

,. . . being announced at 2pm today NZ time.

At least I think it is – the NZ Bloggers’ Union says it was being announced yesterday but I think that’s a typo.

In case you missed it yesterday, I’m offering an electronic bottle of whatever you fancy to the person who picks the top three.  I’ve disabled comments for this post,  go back two posts,  to leave your pick.

If I was a betting woman my money would be on (in alphabetic order which I forgot to do in yesterday’s post): Cactus Kate, Kiwiblog and Macdoctor.

A sorry excuse for an apology

June 10, 2010

The letter of apology, which was a condition of diversion for the bloke who stole my laptop was waiting for me when I got home yesterday.

It said:

It is with sincere apology that I am writing you this letter to apologise for my actions. I wish to apologise for picking up your laptop on Wednesday the 13th of February and not returning it sooner than I did.

On picking up the laptop I tried to find you in the car park and tried ringing the number inside the case. I realise now that I should have taken it directly to Airport Police and let them locate the rightful owner instead of trying to myself. It was not my intention to keep the computer and I am sorry that I did not return it sooner than I did.

I can not express how sorry I am for this situation and apologies for any grief and inconvenience I have caused you.

Yours sincerely

This sorry excuse for an apology tells me he’s not only a thief but a liar.

I foolishly put my laptop down beside my luggage while paying for parking at the airport and walked off with the suitcase but not the laptop. He must have been just behind me in the queue and could have called out as soon as he noticed what I’d done.

I realised I’d left the laptop just minutes after doing it and ran straight back to parking machine so there is no way he could have missed me had he been trying to find me.

We have three phone lines and an answerphone at home so I don’t believe he tried to ring.

The laptop had a password which he managed to get past. He could then have emailed me to let me know he had the computer. Instead he used it for about a month before excellent police work led to his whereabouts and he was invited back to the airport where he admitted to the police officer handling the case that he had the computer.

Sorry? I have no doubt he’s sorry he was caught but I don’t think he can be sorry about stealing the computer when he’s still trying to say he didn’t steal it but was only a bit slow in trying to return it.

I’d been uncertain whether making him do diversion was the right decision. This letter confirms it was because you get only one offer of diversion. If he haasn’t learned he was wrong from this experience he won’t get a second chance if he transgresses again.

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