Word of the day

August 18, 2011

Larmoyant – tearful, weeping.

A good goodbye

August 18, 2011

A funeral should be about the person who has died and for the people who mourn her/him.

I’ve been to funerals so bad, so irrelevant to the dead and lacking in comfort for the living, that I’ve wondered who’s in the coffin.

I’ve also been to funerals so good that had I not known the one who had died before the service I’d have known them well by the end of it.

Today’s service for Sir Paul Reeves was a very good one, helping those who knew only  the public figure learn about the husband, father, grandfather and friend.

He was a good man and was given a good goodbye.

Thanks to RadioNZ National and Maori Television people who couldn’t be there in person were able to hear and see it.

Telecom abstaining from abstinence campaign

August 18, 2011

Telecom has canned its abstain for the All Blacks campaign.

Sex sells but abstinence would have been a big ask, even if it was tongue in cheek.

A campaign asking people to abstain from something they chose to forgo might have worked.

The one exhorting New Zealanders to touch, crouch and not engage for six weeks ought to have been chucked in the bad-idea bin long before it reached the public.

Thursday’s quiz

August 18, 2011

1. Who said. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

2. In which year did National first win an election and who was its first Prime Minister?

3. It’s compleanno  in Italian; cumpleaños  in Spanish; and huritau in Maori, what is it in English? (In case you’re wondering why no French, it would have made it too easy).

4. Who were Cain & Abel’s parents?

5. Which is Africa’s highest mountain and in which country is it?

Thank goodness for the 5% threshold

August 18, 2011

One of the changes being mooted for MMP is a lowering of the 5% threshold parties are required to reach if they don’t hold any seats.

One very good argument against that is Graham Capill.

The convicted sex offender has been granted parole. He was leader of the Christian Heritage party which, as part of the Christian Coalition, gained 4.3% of the party vote in the 1996 election.

The threshold by itself doesn’t stop unsuitable people entering parliament, but in this case it did and for that we can be grateful.


Constituional safety in power denied

August 18, 2011

Sir Anand Satyanand was farewelled with a bang yesterday but the most publicity he got during his tenure as Governor General was that generated by Paul Henry’s faux pas.

Apart from that Sir Anand quietly got on doing what Governors General do – fulfilling the ceremonial role required of the Queen’s representative and attending to a few other constitutional matters the law entrusts the office holder with.

I am a republican in my head but a monarchist in my heart. One of the reasons I like our current constitutional arrangements is the lack of politics and publicity which surround the Governor General.

I also like the security that comes with a role which gives little real power  to the office holder but by its existence denies power to usurpers.

No fires without smokes

August 18, 2011

Opposition MPs and unions predicted dire consequences when the ban on smoking in prisons was instituted.

What’s actually happened?  Corrections Minister Judith Collins reported there’s been almost no fires since the smokes were banned:

The ban has been in place since 1 July. It followed 12 months of careful planning and preparation by Corrections staff, supported by the Ministry of Health and Quitline.

“I would like to congratulate the Corrections Department for the successful implementation of this policy,” Ms Collins said.

“There has been a noticeable improvement in air quality within our prisons since the ban came into effect.

“Since 1 July there has also been a significant reduction in the number of fire and arson-related incidents. There were only four such incidents in July and one so far in August compared to 18 incidents in the month prior to the ban.

“The result is that our prisons are much safer and healthier places for Corrections staff.”

Labour copped a lot of flack for banning smoking in bars because of the way they did it. Instead of promoting it as an OSH issue for staff – with which it would have been very difficult to argue – they took the nanny-state we-know-what’s-good-for-you approach.

By contrast, the smoking ban in prisons was instituted as a workplace health and safety measure, a by-product of that will be better health for prisoners.

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