Daring or desperate?

May 28, 2011

Why would a left wing MP challenge a right wing blogger to a cycle race?

Trevor Mallard did that to Cameron Slater.

Was it an act of daring or is he really desperate for publicity?

Cameron has accepted and issued a counter challenge – a boxing match.

Will the answer to that be daring or desperate?

Word of the day

May 28, 2011

Contumely– rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence; an insolent or arrogant remark or act.

Saturday smiles

May 28, 2011

An atheist was enjoying a quiet day’s fishing on Lake Taupo when suddenly his boat was attacked by a giant  taniwha. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat high into the air. It then opened it’s mouth waiting below to swallow them both.

As the man sailed head over heels and started to fall towards the open jaws of the fearsome creature, he cried out, “Oh, God! Help me!”

Suddenly, the scene froze in place and as the atheist hung in mid-air a booming voice came out of the clouds and said, “I thought you didn’t believe in Me!”

“God, come on, give me a break!” the man pleaded, “Just seconds ago I didn’t believe in taniwha either!”

“Well,” said God, “now that you are a believer, you must understand that I won’t work miracles to snatch you from certain death in the jaws of the monster, but I can change hearts. What would you have me do?”

The atheist thinks for a minute then says, “God, please have the tanwha believe in You also.”

God replies, “So be it.”

The scene starts in motion again with the atheist falling towards the ravenous jaws of the monster. The taniwha  folds his claws together and says, “Lord, bless this food You have so graciously provided…”

Political version of Four Weddings and Funeral

May 28, 2011

Quote of the week in Federated Farmers’ Farm Review (not online):

Two Political Parties and Some Self Serving Unions could be a political version of Four Weddings and a Funeral, but without the comedic touch.

To whom would that be referring?

Desperate sign of desperation

May 28, 2011

It’s not my land and it’s not my city so the outcry over the plan to erect a Wellywood sign on a hill overlooking our capital passed me by until I realised I would be paying for it, albeit a tiny amount.

I fly in and out of Wellingtona several times a year, using the airport which is going to put up the sign and therefore some portion of the airfare I pay must be paying for this wanton wannabeness.

If you apply the adage  if you can’t be first you must be better to the sign then the airport board which wants to erect it appears to have got it wrong.

Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery but it doesn’t necessarily make the imitator right.

Wellywood was a clever enough word play linking Wellington with Hollywood, but turning it into a sign which imitates the one which overlooks the USA’s film capital isn’t so smart. As  Lonely Planet  says:

Lonely Planet New Zealand commissioning editor Errol Hunt said he was “torn” on the idea of a Wellywood sign, seeing it as partly bold, and partly cringe-worthy.

“On one hand, it’s a bit cheeky, a bit quirky, which does feel right. On the other hand, the tryhard-o-meter is beeping furiously.”

Jim Hopkins says it even better:

It is, after all, simply evidence, writ large, of how provincial, insecure and derivative we can be.

If you have to try that hard to impress people, you really shouldn’t bother. Better to pull your bottom lip over your top lip and pretend you don’t exist.

The Wellywood sign is just the biggest, dumbest version of all those gormless billboards we see bestrewn along the roadside all over the country, halfway between nowhere and somewhere else. . .

Well, of course it’s tacky, y’ daft ha’porths!

But it’s not tacky enough. It’s limp tacky, wimp tacky.

It should be wacky tacky. If it’s going to be tacky, it’s got to be Oh! tacky. Nothing less will do. . .

Since all such signs and symbols invite derision, get in first. Create one that will transcend silliness and scale the highest heights of kitsch. Then, when people say, “Strewth, that’s awful!” you can reply, with a satisfied grin on your gob, “Thank you.”

That sums it up – the sign is bad, but not bad enough,  a desperate sign of desperation, not that I’m likely to see it.

In spite of many flights to and from Wellington I have  no idea which hill the sign is destined to despoil. I am usually reading, sleeping or,  in the case of Wellington sometimes more than exciting landings, praying, and don’t recall seeing a hillside on any descent or take-off. 

On my most recent trip a couple of days ago all I saw was cloud until just before we touched down and more cloud when we took off again yesterday.

Therefore, in the spirit of the tackiness of the sign and with apologies to Ogden Nash I leave you with:

Deck your grassy hill in signs, the hill is yours my sweeting,

 I’ll not see it flying in, nor when I’m retreating.

Trans Tasman traffic changing direction

May 28, 2011

Bill English was criticised a few weeks ago for suggesting that lower wages here was a competitive advantage.

What do the critics say now that Heinz Watties is moving some of its production from Australia to New Zealand?

After an extensive review of the trans Tasman manufacturing footprint and capabilities, the decision has been made to consolidate production of sauces, beetroot, and some canned meal products from facilities Girgarre (Victoria), Brisbane and Wagga Wagga (NSW), to facilities in Hastings.

Heinz Wattie’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Gibson says Heinz operates a number of factories across Australia and New Zealand and share production between the two countries depending on how customers and consumers can be best served in both markets. The decision to consolidate manufacturing is a critical step in the plan to become more competitive in a challenging environment and to accelerate future growth.

It all comes down to costs of production:

Australia’s supply chain director, Mike Robinson, says the change is the result of a global productivity review, and is not a result of the strong Australian dollar.

“There is pressure on suppliers from customers and consumers. But there are a number of factors,” he said.

“The cost of raw materials, labour, energy. All of these have pressure on suppliers which mean that we have to maintain competitiveness.”

People are going west across the Tasman but if production moves east to New Zealand then people will follow.

Australia is rich in natural resources but it doesn’t have the plentiful supply of water which helps us produce electricity at a cheaper cost.

Having lower wages isn’t good in the long term but can be a factor which helps economic growth in the short term. As the economy grows, wages will increase .

Hat tip: Adolf at No Minister

Protest for privileged

May 28, 2011

People are planning to march up Queen Street today in support of wealthy beneficiaries and foreign banks.

They’re not saying that. They think they’re opposing Budget announcements:

Groups opposed to the Government’s planned changes to KiwiSaver, family tax credits and public services and state asset sales, announced in last week’s Budget, will march along Auckland’s Queen Street . . .

If the changes to family tax credits can be criticised for anything it’s not going far enough. Giving public money to high income earners, regardless of how big their families are, is not what the welfare state was designed to do.

People in Kiwisaver will still get $1,000when they join and any further subsidy from the government is generous, even if it isn’t quite as generous as it’s been.

Changes to public services are designed to shift costs from the backroom to the front line. How can anyone protest about that?

The alternative  to the partial sale of state assets is to cut spending  severely or add to already heavy borrowing from overseas banks which would add to our already precarious financial situation.

Given the parlous state of the nation’s books the government could have been forgiven for a slash and burn Budget. Instead it went for what Rob Hosking described as a trim and singe.

Today’s protest is for the privileged and will say a lot more about the politics of the participants than the Budget which delivered moderate measures to solve some very serious problems.

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