Silver Threads & Golden Needles

July 15, 2010

Happy birthday Linda Ronstadt, 64 today.

Wild(e) card for Auckland mayor?

July 15, 2010

Trans Tasman has heard a whisper that former MP & Wellington mayor Fran Wilde may stand for the Auckland mayoralty.

TT has several ears close to the ground and the whispers it writes about are usually pretty reliable.

On The Sunny Side Of The Street

July 15, 2010

Librettist and lyricist, Dorothy Fields was born 105 years ago today.

Incentives work – but not in eyes of unions

July 15, 2010

Nick Smith’s contention that experience rating will improve work place safety may seem optimistic, but I think it’s right.

Businesses will receive discounts and loadings on their ACC workplace levies from 1 April next year to provide stronger incentives to improve workplace safety and to make ACC’s levies fairer, ACC Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“New Zealand’s workplace safety does not compare well internationally with more than one worker killed and another 600 injured each week,” Dr Smith said. “The averaged levy system means businesses with good workplace safety are carrying the cost of others that are less safe. This detracts from the incentives for improving safety. The new system of accident experience rating will reward those businesses that have safer work and return to work practices.

No sane employer would have an unsafe workplace because ACC levies those with high and low accident rates the same but employers with good safety records do resent paying to cover those with bad ones.

Incentives work. If employers and employees know that levies will be lower for safer workplaces and those which help injured staff return to work, and higher for those with bad records, they are likely to do more for accident prevention and rehabilitation.

“The proposal is that employers paying more than $10,000 a year in ACC workplace levies will be subject to a discount or loading of up to 50% based on their claims history. This approach will apply to the approximately 5000 employers who employ more than 30 people and involves approximately 690,000 employees or more than 30% of the workforce.

“Experience rating is more difficult for smaller employers so a simple system of no-claims bonuses and high-claim loadings will apply. The proposal is that if no weekly compensation claim has been lodged in the preceding three years, the employer will receive a 10% no-claim bonus on their ACC levies. Penalties will apply where there has been more than four weekly compensation claims in the last three years. An expected 220,000 small businesses will receive a discount under the proposed policy and approximately 1000 will pay a high-claim loading.

You would think unions and the Labour Party, which are supposed to work for workers’ interests, would be pleased with the proposed changes, but no, such is their jaundiced view of employers they think they’ll lead to accident cover-ups.

Macdoctor points out that this is tosh.

Employers are required to report an injury accident within 24 hours. You’d be really stupid to try and cover one up because health professionals also alert ACC when someone comes to them after an accident.

You’d be even stupider to keep a staff member from seeking medical assistance after an accident and if anyone that stupid is probably not adhering to a lot of other workplace regulations.

But ACC charges and employment regulations shouldn’t be based on the tiny minority of bad employers who ignore them anyway.

They should be clear and simple for the majority of employers who know that a safe and happy workplace is good for employees and business.

The proposed changes will give them even more incentive for ensuring staff have a safe environment and follow safe practices and that anyone who is injured is helped back to work as soon as possible.

Auntie Talking To Her Niece

July 15, 2010

But is it poetry? is a question often asked of modern poems from those who lament the lack of rhythm and rhyme.

They might also think that prose poem is an oxymoron.

But that’s the offering on this Tuesday’s Poem Auntie Talking to Her Niece by Joan Flemming.

Stop them starting

July 15, 2010

Smoking used to be socially acceptable almost anywhere.

Forty years ago it was rare for people to ask if others minded if they smoked, even in the homes of non-smokers.

Gradually that changed and people started asking, though at first it was a token gesture in the expectation that no-one would say no.

Then as legal restrictions on smoking in enclosed public places increased it became socially unacceptable elsewhere. Now it’s rare for a smoker to ask if anyone minds if they smoke, they don’t expect to smoke inside.

There’s nothing glamorous about standing outside in all weathers getting your tobacco fix and I’ve wondered why that, combined  with steep increases in prices, hasn’t led to a decrease in people who start smoking. At last it has.

The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey which has been run yearly since 1999, showed 5.6 percent of students aged 14 to 15 (year 10) smoked daily, compared to 15.6 percent when the survey started.

The survey also revealed 64 percent of students had not taken a single puff of tobacco, compared to 31.6 percent in 1999.

An encouraging trend revealed in the survey was the reduction in smoking across different ethnicities, the report’s author Janine Paynter said.

“We’re seeing that some of the inequalities in tobacco use are closing and it is particularly encouraging to see a decent reduction in the daily smoking rate for Pacific girls,” Dr Paynter said.

The easiest place to stop smoking is before you start and it is very unusual for adults to start.

A drop in the number of young people starting is an encouraging sign that smoking may at last be a dying habit.


July 15, 2010

6/10 in NZ History Online’s weekly quiz.

Could blame it on yesterday’s long day and late night, but honesty compels me to admit that a shorter day and earlier night wouldn’t have helped.

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