Word of the day

December 21, 2011

Mopery –  a violation of a trivial or imaginary law or rule; mopish behaviour.

2012 places to go

December 21, 2011

The Chicago Tribune has a list of places to go by month in 2012 .

There among the big events from the Olympics to a champagne cork shoot-off is:


14-18: Oamaru, New Zealand — Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations. Penny Farthing Bicycle Races set the tone for townwide merriment.

There is a lot more to the celebrations than Penny Farthing races. Other activities include the annual swaggers and servants dance, a Victorian garden party, a heritage ball, and the Victorian fete.

Each year more locals and visitors embrace the theme and garb themselves in Victorian clothes and each year the celebrations get better.

Dear Telecom – updated

December 21, 2011

Dear Telecom,

Our internet connection died on Monday morning.

I phoned your help desk. A recorded message told me people were experiencing email difficulties, technicians were working on it and the waiting time for calls to be answered was about an hour.

I hung up.

About an hour later I rang back, heard about the email problems again and then was told if I left my number someone would call back.

I left my number. Someone called back.

She tried to help and couldn’t. She passed me onto someone else who tried to help.

She wanted me to tell her which of the lights were green on the modem. I couldn’t see to read in the half-light under the desk. I enlisted a younger pair of eyes, she read out the labels and I relayed them to the help desk.

It didn’t help and nothing else that was suggested worked. She passed me on to someone else.

After about an hour of this the bloke who was trying to help said he’d have to email a technician who would text me and I could expect that message within four hours.

By Tuesday morning I’d still heard nothing. Our office manager spent more than an hour on the phone getting to the same place I had.

But at 9:35 I got a text telling me Telecom had logged a case and giving me a reference number.

Yesterday evening when we’d heard nothing more my farmer rang for help.

He got nowhere.

I went over to the office and found a message saying the problem had been resolved and everything would be fine by this morning.

At 9:18pm I got a text saying the problem had been resolved.

I went back tot he office, the internet was still dead. I rang the support number again.

The woman who answered got me under the desk again to put the end of a paper clip in a tiny hole in the modem to reboot it. That didn’t work either.

She passed me on to someone else who studied the case notes and said that the problem at the exchange had been fixed  but they still had to do something else, it should be fine in the morning and I’d get a text between 8 and 9am.

At 9:30 having heard nothing I rang the help desk again. I explained I needed level 2, the woman who answered said she’d try to help me first.

She couldn’t and eventually passed me on.

Once more I had to get under the desk and stick a paper clip in the tiny hole in the modem. The paper clip bent and wouldn’t turn the modem off. The man on the help desk suggested I get a tooth pick. I did. It broke. I found a stronger paper clip which enabled me to turn the modem off.

It came back on but the internet light still didn’t.

The help desk man eventually said he’d have to email the technician again. I asked him if he could impress upon him the urgency of the matter given we ‘d been trying to run a business on a couple of t-sticks for 48 hours and could he please ask the technician to contact us and give us an indication of what might be done by when.

He said I should get a text.

I didn’t.

I tried phoning Chorus directly but was told I had to go through Telecom.

It’s been more than four hours and we’ve still heard nothing.

Yesterday was the 20th of the month, had it not been for the t-sticks we wouldn’t have been able to pay the bills. As it was we could, albeit at a far slower rate than normal because mobile reception isn’t very good out here.

Thanks to the t-sticks we’ve been able to send and receive emails and I’ve been able to blog too but the much slower connection and the hours we’ve spent on the phone are costing us time and causing frustration for our staff and us.

That would be bad enough at any time of the year but it is especially concerning just two days before the country shuts-down for Christmas.

The length of time it’s taking and the silence in which we’ve been left are an appalling reflection on your customer service.

How hard would it be for a real person to phone us and tell us what’s happening and give an indication of when the problem might be resolved?

The very least a business in the business of communication should do is communicate with its customers when they’re having problems.

Yours in frustration



3:08: Internet is back. Thank you.

Remediation must be measured

December 21, 2011

Quote of the day:

It’s just fine to measure the wealth gap, or incomes, or disposable incomes, in fact measure anything you like, raw. It’s also just fine to measure such things after whatever is done to remediate what is considered to be unacceptable.

But it isn’t fine to use the raw measures to argue that more remediation must be done. You must measure after the remediation that is already done so that you can decide whether further is needed or desirable. Tim Worstall.



Making a fuss or making a difference

December 21, 2011

Flying to a country when you know you won’t get past immigration at the border is making a fuss.

Putting up a billboard you know will offend people is making a fuss.

Posturing over making an oath when you know it’s a requirement of being sworn in is making a fuss.

The people behind these fusses were interested in publicity, and got it but they achieve anything else.

Fortunately there are still people who believe it’s better to make a difference and do so without making a fuss.

One of these is my MP, Jacqui Dean.

She rarely gets noticed by nationwide media, which is probably a good thing because unless you’re a minister nationwide media attention is usually for the wrong reasons. She earns a share of local and regional media by doing her job  – representing and advocating for her constituents.

That’s not easy when they’re spread across 34,880 square kilometres but she does it and the election results shows she does it well. The 23,219 votes from the 38,879 cast is a tribute not just to her campaign, although that would have helped, but much more to the six years of hard work she’s given to the electorate since she entered parliament.

The size of the vote indicates the electorate has a blue base. But it also shows that people who would never give a party vote to National recognise the difference Jacqui makes and give her their electorate vote in spite of her political allegiance.

Making a fuss gets you headlines but you need to make a difference to get support, especially when it’s from people who don’t support your party.

Small fall in dairy prices

December 21, 2011

The tradeweighted price went down 1.6% in this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

The price of anhydrous milk fat increased 4.8%; butter milk powder was down 3.8%; cheddar was up 1%; milk protein concentrate dropped 6.7%; rennet casein dropped 6.9%; skim milk powder was down by 3.2%;and  whole milk powder lost 1.5%.

Green gift opportunity to National

December 21, 2011

John Key offered the Green Party the opportunity to abstain on confidence and supply in return for which the Greens would have got some policy concessions.

They turned it down.

That will no doubt please their hard core members but it also provides an opportunity for National.

Before the election the Greens tried to pretend they could go left or right if in a position to do so. Their refusal to go as far as abstaining on confidence and supply shows it was merely posturing. They are a party of the left, and probably further left than Labour.

But while people who voted for them share the Greens’ concern for the environment not all share their more radical economic and social views.

That’s where there’s an opportunity for National with blue-green policy that balances environmental, economic and social considerations.

Winning the next election requires winning voters from the left. Labour’s close to its bed-rock support but some of the Green support is from swinging voters who could be wooed towards the centre right.

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