Word of the day

March 15, 2011

Nigroglobulate – to exclude someone by a negative vote or veto; to blackball.

Spot the contradiction

March 15, 2011

When John Key ruled out working with Winston Peters, Phil Goff said:

Mr Key was arrogant for ruling out NZ First prior to voters having their say.

“I’m going to let the voters make the decision.”

That was in February. Now, just a little more than a month later he’s saying he won’t work with Hone Harawira:

If the MP is re-elected in November this year, Labour leader Phil Goff says his party would not enter talks with him on forming a Government.

Mr Goff says Mr Harawira would not be a reliable coalition partner.

However, he is not ruling out working with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters if he returns to Parliament.

It’s not just the contradiction between last month’s “I’m going to the voters make the decision” and this month’s refusal to consider working with Hrawira, it’s also his willingness to work with Peters when he’s been kicked out of three coalitions – including one in which Goff was a senior minister.

I could almost feel sorry for Labour supporters like Imperator Fish who posts:

I’m willing to cut the new leader of a political party a bit of slack. Even if they have been around the political scene for years.

But I can barely listen to or read a thing Phil Goff says without groaning. He really needs to be taken aside and given the hard word about gun safety. How can anyone shoot themselves in the foot so many times?

. . . But Goff’s happy to work with Winston Peters, despite Peters being at least as widely reviled as Harawira. The main difference between the two is that Harawira speaks from the heart. He may be unreliable and unstable, but you know where you stand with Hone.

Apropos of  where Peters stands, his infamous NO sign is being auctioned at a Press Gallery fundraiser at the Backbenchers.

John Key says he’ll bid $5,000 for it and David Farrar and Cameron Slater are asking for contributions so they can bid for it.

If we win it, we guarantee it will turn up to most of the public meetings that Winston attends during the campaign. E-mail me if you are willing to contribute towards buying it at the auction, and how much you are able to contribute. If we get it for less than the amount pledged, we’ll divide it up pro-rata. And remember it is all for a good cause – money for Christchurch relief.

Two good causes – the earthquake relief and the fun they’ll have with it at election meetings.

Alone but not lonely

March 15, 2011

Paul Tillich said language . . .  has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”

Jim Mora and I discuss the difference between being alone and lonely on Critical Mass prompted by Leon Neyfakh’s the power of lonely in the Boston Globe.

Tina Coleman wrote on the same theme in solitude: alone but not lonely.

We finished with a story from the Australian in which Rebecca turner looked at depression, the dark side of mining boom.

Many happies North & South

March 15, 2011

The ag-sag had well and truly hit us in 1986.

We’d cut out luxuries and reassessed what were necessities. Magazines were definitely in the former category but a friend mentioned the launch of a new magazine – North and South.

I looked, I bought, I read and was hooked. My farmer and I gave each other a subscription for combined birthday and Christmas presents and we’ve kept on renewing it ever since.

The magazine quakcly earned a reputation for the quality of its  journalism and nothing in my working life gave me as much of a thrill as seeing stories I’d written published in it.

Founding editor Robyn Langwell had high standards and was rewarded with loyal readers whose judgement was backed up by the more than 200 awards North and South and its staff won in the 22 years she was in charge.

The March edition which celebrates the magazine’s 25th anniversary tells its story and looks aback on some of the people and issues which it has featured in its first quarter century.

Few people had computers when North and South was launched and there was much less competition for discretionary dollars. In spite of this it has respectable sales of 29,000 and a readership of around 300,000.

That increase from sales to readers seems high but our copies are passed among family and staff before being taken to the hospital so each magazine we buy is easily read by more than 10 people.

I don’t always read the magazine from cover to cover as I used to. But I still get enough enjoyment and satisfaction from it to justify continuing the subscription and look forward to the second 25 years of good education, entertainment and inspiration.

Higher prices aren’t grim

March 15, 2011

Is this just poor journalism or economic ignorance?

High milk prices for consumers look set to continue into the foreseeable future, with a report to the Government showing grim price predictions beyond May.

In a report to Agriculture Minister David Carter, the ministry said high domestic costs were being driven by overseas dairy prices.

“International prices are currently at high levels and are likely to remain for the remainder of the year to May 2011 and into the next. This will keep retail milk prices up,” the report said.

Grim price predictions? What’s grim about increased prices for one of our most important exports?

Fortunately Minister of Agriculture David Carter has a better grasp on the facts:

“We are dependent, as an export nation, on what we receive for our products internationally, and while that does have a negative, immediate impact on New Zealand consumers, frankly, the better the primary sector performs the better all New Zealanders will be,” he said.

Dairy giant Fonterra choosing to freeze the price for the rest of the year had taken the heat out of the issue, he said.

Mr Carter said it would be a bad decision for the Government to intervene to lower domestic prices.

“We could, if we were silly enough, impose some sort of subsidy on domestic milk, but it would be an impractical, silly move in my opinion,” he said.

“We’re a nation that argues passionately for the chance to freely trade to other markets in the world, we would ruin a well-established reputation around an advocate for free trade if we were now attempting to put subsidies in place domestically.”


We can not preach free trade overseas if we went back to the bad old days of subsidies at home.

Rising prices are hard for people whose budgets are stretched but the answer to that isn’t to hobble one of our best performing export industries.

More money for exports is the key to economic growth which will help to provide more and better paying jobs.

Bid for Meads’ jersey $33,000

March 15, 2011

The highest bid for Colin Meads’ No 8 All Black jersey is $33,000.

He wore the jersey in 1957 when the All Blacks lost to Canterbury at Lancaster Park and donated it to be auctioned on The Farming Show with all money raised going to the Christchurch earthquake appeal.

AllFlex Platinum Primary Producers Group which has more than 50 members representing m any of the largest farming operations in New Zealand and Australia made the bid last week.

All Flex general manager Shane McManaway said the highest bid for the jersey before the group began raising funds last Thursday evening was just over $5,000. When the amount got to $10,000, one of the group’s members pledged another $10,000 and many others committed to pledges of more than $1000 each during the evening and the following morning before the conference closed.

There was no mention of the jersey on the Farming Show yesterday so I think bids are still being accepted.

To bid: Text 5009.  Put FS [space] your bid, name and where you’re from.

Christchurch down not out

March 15, 2011

Several people have told me if the conference I’m helping to organise in May is held in Christchurch as scheduled they won’t be going.

My response is that’s unfortunate. The original venue, the Latimer Hotel, won’t be open for 12 months but we have booked an alternative venue and intend to use it.

Fundraising is an important way to help Christchurch rebuild but supporting its businesses is even better and holding the conference there will do that.

The city is down but not out. We can build on the harm the earthquake did by staying away, or – when it is safe and practical to do so – we can go there and do our small bits to help the recovery.

Any city which can, by helping itself and with assistance from outside, make the transformation shown in the video deserves support:

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