Another Clark for Labour

September 25, 2010

Selwyn College warden David Clark has been selected as Labour’s candidate for Dunedin North.

He has previously worked as a Treasury analyst and as an adviser to Labour list MP David Parker, also of Dunedin.

 Big News points out that four of the candidates who contested the seat at the last election will be in parliament after the recess:  Pete Hodgson (Labour), Michael Woodhouse (National), Metiria Turei (Greens) and Hilary Calvert (Act).

Clark has been seleted because Hodgson is retiring, Dunedin North is bright red so the new candidate’s chances of becoming the next MP are high.

 Given Act’s performance, Calvert’s seat in parliament is more precarious.


Word of the day

September 25, 2010

Agelast – someone who never laughs, a mirthless person.

How sad is that?


Sometimes you’ve gotta laugh

September 25, 2010

Switzerland’s finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz  got the giggles when trying to read the bureaucratic language in his script.

Hat Tip: TV3.


Dome Hills deserves your vote

September 25, 2010

Dome Hills is nestled into the foothills at the western end of the Kakanui Mountains which border North and Central Otago.

It’s a high country station running sheep and cattle and it also offers high quality accommodation in its lodge.

Cindy Douglas and her husband David, who is the third generation of his family to farm Dome Hills, offer guests a unique high country experience with magnificent scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to explore the rivers and hills on foot, mountain bike or horseback, and be part of a working station.

The stunning scenery is surpassed only by the warmth of the hospitality and Dome Hills is a worthy nominee for the Corporate Events Guide People’s Choice Award which honour New Zealand companies that excel in their field.

You can vote for it here.

You can also read more about Dome Hills in New Zealand House and Garden and the NZ Herald.


Wool wins WOW

September 25, 2010

This year’s wonderful World of Wearable Arts has proved yet again that Merino is a winner:

A pair of Indian designers wooed by Wellington’s world-class costume extravaganza have taken the top award at the Montana World of WearableArt.

First-time entrants Yogesh Chaudhary and Manas Barve won the Montana Supreme Award, the American Express Open Section and $30,000 worth of prizes at last night’s awards ceremony for their innovative garment Loops.

Made entirely of merino wool felt, Loops was created with laser-cutting and seamless knitting – no thread or glue was used in its construction. Its interlaced panels cover the model’s whole body.

WOW is a spectacular celebration of creativity and this year’s winner is a wonderful illustration of the versatility of merino.

It’s not the first time wool has won the top award. In 2007 Rattle Your Dags by  Paula Coulthard & Ursula Dixon won the main prize.


Increase in women MPs slowed under MMP

September 25, 2010

MMP was supposed to help women enter parliament but has it?

Scrubone has a graph which shows the increase in the number of women MPs has slowed since MMP was introduced:

Pre the 1980s, clearly there was an upward trend for many years followed by some stagnation. But after 1978, numbers of women MPs shot up from 5% to 22%.

After the first MMP election however, something strange happened. The improvement has been much slower. Slower than the pre-MMP, and vastly slower than the 80′s and early 90′s trend. So things are getting better, but slowly – that’s point 1.

Now, think about this. Those big gains were made when all MPs were electorate MPs.

Scrubone also found that not only had the increase in the number of women MPs slowed, it was even slower for electorates.

There’s another, very obvious conclusion that can be taken from exactly the same data. MMP has meant that parties don’t need to take seriously the idea of equality anymore. Why bother to get a wide range of candidates in seats when you can just promote them in the list? That to me is a should be listed as a negative.

So is MMP really better for women’s representation in parliament? I see a reduction in the rate of increase that could hardly be more clear, plus a change in behaviour in that women are pushed from electorates into the list.

Is that really progress?

He’s got graphs to show that too . He worked on percentages so this trend has nothing to do with there being fewer electorate seats since MMP was introduced.

MMP has made electorates bigger geographically which makes them more difficult to serve and much harder to balance work and family responsibilities. That could put women off standing, but women MPs hold  some of the biggest electorates.

Rahui Katene is MP for Te Tai Tonga (161,443 square kilometres), Tariana Turia is MP for Te Tai Hauauru (35,825 sq kms), Jacqui Dean holds Waitaki (34,888 sq km),  Anne Tolley holds East Coast (13,649),  Nanaia Mahuta holds Hauraki-Waikato ( 12,580 sq kms),  Louise Upston holds Taupo (9,101 sq kms), Amy Adams is MP for Selwyn (7,854 sq kms) and Jo Goodhew is MP for Rangitata (6,826 sq kms).

Something which may partly explain why more women are on lists than in electorates is  that only three parties, National, Labour and the Maori Party, hold electorate seats so all Act and Green MPs are list MPs.

But that doesn’t explain why the increase in the number of women in parliament has slowed under MMP.

The may be other factors other than the electoral system which have impacted on the number of women MPs since 1996. But MMP was supposed to make parliament more representative and it hasn’t lived up to that promise when it comes to gender balance.


Delay daylight saving

September 25, 2010

My campaign to delay the start of daylight saving has a Facebook Group.

On it I say:

Extending daylight saving so it starts in September and ends in April was a mistake.

We’ve just had the spring solstice which means there’s only 12 hours between sunrise and sunset. Putting the clocks forward to move sunset from 6ish to 7ish in the evening means sunrise moves from 6ish to 7ish in the morning.

It’s too late to do anything this year – but if there was enough support it could be changed from next year.

If the change to daylight saving was delayed until mid to late October there’d be 14 hours between sunrise and sunset. We’d get more light at both ends of the day and it should be warm enough to be outside.

The Royal Astronomical Society has sunrise and sunset times for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

LINZ has sunrise and sunset times for  Auckland, Bluff, Dunedin, East Cape, Gisborne & Lyttelton.


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