Word of the day

May 5, 2011

Fadaise – a vapid, obvious, silly or meaningless remark; nonsense.

Compulsory voluntarism ?

May 5, 2011

Labour wants to talk to Act MP Heather Roy about her  bill which will make membership of student unions voluntary.

Chief Whip Rick Barker told Morning Report that Labour is willing to debate the bill, but it has some concerns about its context.

He said the problem is that it makes voluntarism – compulsory.

Compulsory voluntarism?

The logic of this defeats me. If you can explain what sounds like an oxymoron to me, please do.

Thursday’s quiz

May 5, 2011

1. Corgis were originally bred to do what work?

2. Who said: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” ?

3. Which New Zealand singer sang If I Only Had Time? (token gesture to NZ music month).

4. It’s amitié in French, amistad in Spanish and the nearest I could find in Maori was whanaungatanga – what is it in English?

5. What is a gnomon?

Com Com reduces mobile termination rates

May 5, 2011

Mobile calls and texts from a phone using one network to another using a different one will be cheaper:

The Commerce Commission today released its decision on mobile termination rates – the cost of carrying a text or call on another network. There will be significant reductions in the wholesale termination rates for mobile calls and text messages. As a result of competitive pressure, the Commission anticipates that these reductions in the wholesale rates will flow through to the prices paid by the 4.7 million mobile subscribers in New Zealand in the coming year.

Termination rates for calls will drop to less than 4 cents by 1 April 2012, with further reductions until 2014. Termination rates for text messages will drop to 0.06 cents from 6 May 2011.

“These changes are intended to address significant competition problems in the wholesale mobile market which have resulted in high retail prices – particularly for prepay customers – a low number of mobile calls and high rates of people switching networks, compared to other countries,” said Dr Ross Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner.

Cheaper but not necessarily cheap enough:

“However, we continue to be concerned about the extent to which the price of calls and text messages between people on different networks are significantly higher than calls and text messages between people on the same network. These price differences create significant barriers for the new entry and growth of small mobile operators in the mobile market,” said Dr Patterson.

While the Commission expects reduction in wholesale termination rates for calls and text messages to resolve this problem, it will be monitoring this situation closely, including publishing monthly reports, and is prepared to move quickly to limit these price differences if required.

The graduated reduction in termination rates for calls will allow mobile providers time to adjust retail rates. In providing this graduated reduction, or glide path, the Commission has sought to balance the benefits for consumers in terms of lower prices, while allowing mobile providers time to adjust retail prices.

New Zealand mobile rates are regarded as high by international standards and that’s the main reason people here text more than those in other countires. 

 The Commerce Commission ruling will bring the costs down although it may not be enough to encourage people to call instead of texting.

I don’t mind texts for short, simple messages which require short, simple responses. But I’m not among those whose first preference for communication is this method.


May 5, 2011

The DOminion Post still hasn’t taken pity on political tragics by reinstating its weekly political triva quiz but it has got a royal wedding quiz.

Not sure if my score of 8/10 means I know too much or not enough.

Are Maori special?

May 5, 2011

My father and all my maternal antecedents from my great grand parents back were Scots.

I love the way some aspects of Scottish culture have been intertwined with ours – the pipers on special, and some not so special, occasions; Auld Lang Syne sung at the end of celebrations; use of words like wee . . .

But if we stopped doing those things here they would continue in other places, most notably Scotland.

If we let Maori language and culture die here there is no other country where they would flourish.

Wherever Maori came from and whenever they came, the debate about Moriori notwithstanding, they are the first people of our country. Maori language and culture are important  parts of New Zealand’s.

In that respect Maori are special and because of that Don Brash was wrong to say they weren’t during the debate with Hone Harawira on Close Up last night.

That doesn’t mean everything else he said was wrong.

The Maori seats are an anachronism which give Maori second class representation and should go. We also have to be very careful not to let the grievance industry flourish.

Land claims must be settled, fairly, fully and finally. The over-representation of Maori in bad statistics and under representation in good ones must be addressed.

Brash wants that and recognises that Harawira does too. However, Harawira is too bigoted, stuck in dependence mode and focussed on being a victim to acknowledge Brash shares many of his concerns and recognise there is another way to help “his” people.

Making some people more equal than others will not do that and only encourages more opposition and bigotry.

As for the debate, it was good to have politics on television during peak viewing time. It was entertaining but poor chairing meant it generated a lot more heat than light.

I suspect both politicians merely confirmed existing biases rather than converting the undecided or even encouraging anyone to think differently.

Part 1 of the debate is here, part 2 is here.

Merging commissions first step

May 5, 2011

Peter Dunne is calling for the Families’ and Children’s Commissions to be merged:

“Rolling the Office of the Children’s Commissioner into the Families Commission just makes sense,” Mr Dunne said.

“Much of what the two agencies do overlaps and is inter-related. The interests of families and children deeply entwined, and I believe a merger would strengthen their combined advocacy role, while maximising their value for money.”

. . .“The well-being of our children is dependent above all else on the strength of our families,” he said.

“A single commission focused on promoting the needs of families will, by definition, have a positive effect on the lives of children in New Zealand.”

What would have made even more sense would have been not to waste money on the Families’ Commission in the first place. 

But if it’s not going to disappear altogether merging it with the Children’s Commission is better than leaving it as a separate agency.

With luck the merger will be a first step towards its eventual disappearance.

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