Word of the day

June 14, 2011

Labefactation – loosening, shaking,weakening, fall, deterioration, downfall; the process of coming apart or falling into decay.

The people of Christchurch have the strength and resilience to resist the labefactation of their city.


Give blood – I can’t

June 14, 2011

My daughter and I might not be alive if it wasn’t for the blood transfusion I received the day she was born.

I’d been a blood donor since I was at high school but hadn’t realised how much good such a small sacrifice could do until I was on the receiving end of a transfusion.

A small prick on the thumb to get enough blood to test for iron; another small prick in the arm then 10 or so minutes relaxing while a litre of blood was collected isn’t much to endure to potentially save lives.

I’d still be doing it if I could but I’m one of those ruled out in the wake of the mad-cow disease scare in Britain.

Today’s World Blood Donor Day and an opportunity for me, as a very grateful recipient, to say please give if you can.


Discs & lists

June 14, 2011

Desert Island Discs and humble lists were the topics of discussion between Jim Mora and me on Critical Mass today.

BBC4 asked listeners to compile a list of the eight discs they’d take with them to a Desert Island.

The Daily Mail discussed the results and noted:

Clumsy typing also led to votes for singer Not King Cole and the Black Eyed Peas song ‘I Got A Filling’, instead of I Got A Feeling.

Lists – we all write them and old ones provide fascinating information on history.

In Empty trash, buy milk, forge history Gal Beckerman looks at the work of historians Sheilagh Ogilvie, Tracy Dennison and Leigh Shaw-Taylor. Their work shows what the things of every day life in the past can teach us – including the discovery that urbanisation started  long before the industrial revolution:

When I compile the daily history posts I’m reminded that it’s almost always about big events. The story on the lists gives an insight into ordinary, day to day life.


Three questions

June 14, 2011

1. Is this a rogue poll:

Maori TV poll (500 eligible voters; 80 fell under “don’t know”)

Hone Harawira (Mana): 41%
Kelvin Davis (Labour): 40%
Solomon Tipene (Maori): 15%

2. Is the Maori Party deliberately not trying very hard on the theory that defeating Hone Harawira is more important than winning Te Tai Tokerau this time?

3. Will Harawira be having the odd moment when he wonders about the wisdom of forcing a by-election?


Fieldays forecast fine?

June 14, 2011

Anyone who’s been frozen at the Agricultural Fieldays knows to go prepared for any temperature, but it’s the financial forecast rather than the weather which will be of most interest this year.

The Fieldays are the southern hemisphere’s largest agribusiness exhibition. Dr Stuart Locke, Director of the Institute for Business Research at the University of Waikato describes them as a barometer of farming confidence.

Unlike the rest of the economy, the agricultural sector is booming, he says. Payouts to dairy farmers are up, and all agricultural commodities are currently experiencing excellent returns.

“So the million dollar question is: Will farmers be opening their wallets at Fieldays, or will they be squirreling away cash to pay off mortgages and other debt?”

At any gathering of farmers there’s a feeling of confidence I haven’t seen before. My farmer reckons it’s similar to the wool boom of the 1950s which his parents talked about, but this time good returns are spread more widely. Wool, sheep meat, beef, dairy and venison are all getting much higher prices than expected. Cropping, forestry and horticulture are also doing well.

The response to this so far has been conservative and debt repayment is the first priority. But after that there will be catch-up repairs and maintenance and development will follow.

We’re building a new woolshed which will make a small contribution to the wider economy. But more importantly it’s a sign we’re confident that the forecast for sheep farming is fine.


Who cares about the rules?

June 14, 2011

This was put in an Oamaru mail box yesterday:

The other side had a couple of baskets of groceries and quoted Campbell Live to show the price rise between them.

You might not be able to see the parliamentary crest which means you and I paid for it but it is there.

What isn’t there is a promoroter’s statement which the Electoral Commission says is required:

The Electoral Commission reminds all candidates, party secretaries and third party promoters that:

  1. An election advertisement, irrespective of when it is published, must contain a promoter statement.
  2. A promoter statement must state the name and address of the promoter of the election advertisement.

     5.     The promoter statement must be clearly displayed in the advertisement if published in a visual form and no      less audible than the other content of the advertisement if published in an audible form.

A person who wilfully publishes, or causes or permits to be published, an election advertisement in contravention of these requirements commits an offence.  Such matters will be referred to the Police unless the Commission considers that the offence is so inconsequential there is no public interest in reporting the facts to the Police.  Each instance will be considered on its merits.

All promoters of election advertisements should take reasonable steps to ensure that:

  1. Election advertisements are published in a manner that ensures the promoter statement is clearly displayed to the public viewing the advertisement.
  2. All persons entrusted with the task of erecting, posting, displaying, or otherwise publishing election advertisements are aware of the requirement to clearly display the promoter statement and that the statement should not be obscured, cropped, or in any other manner prevented from being clearly displayed to the public viewing the advertisement.

Whaleoil found a similar flyer and quoted the guidelines for MPs which say:

 . . .  an advertisement in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging voters to vote or not vote

  • for a candidate or party
  • or type of party or candidate by reference to views or positions that are or are not held . . .

 By that definition the flyer is an advertisement and therefore requires a promoter statement.

Ignorance is no defence and anyway it would be difficult for Labour to claim they were ignorant of the requirement. They voted for the law which made the promoter’s statement a requirement and Whaleoil’s post was published on Thursday. Someone in the party with authority would have seen it yet these flyers were still being distributed – illegally – yesterday.

Who care’s about the law? Labour doesn’t appear to in this case.


Offensive depends on viewpoint

June 14, 2011

Quote of the day from Chris Keal in the NBR:

“Individuals could sue for breach of privacy, but to mount a successful case they would have to prove that facts or details revealed were “highly offensive” (and although some NBR readers would deem Labour membership as such, the donors involved presumably hold an association with the party in higher regard).”

 He was writing on whether Whaleoil contravened the Privacy Act when he got Labour Party membership and donation information.

Whaleoil’s explanation of how he got it shows how easy it was to get the information because it was unsecure.

I wonder if it was a staff member, party officer or MP who was responsible for the gaping hole in the website security?


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