Word of the day


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

2012 places to go


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Complimenting, complementing or competing?


Is it a a compliment to Finance Minister Bill English that Labour has not now has a Finance spokesman and four associates opposing him?

The four could complement the work David Parker will do but Dene Mackenzie points out they will also be competing with him:

Labour finance spokesman David Parker faces a daunting task of not only taking on Finance Minister Bill English in the House but in also keeping his four associate spokesmen in line. . .

While it can be argued Mr Shearer sees finance as the main focus of his new line-up, Mr Parker will need to rein in the substantial egos of the four other men. It could also be seen  as a lack of confidence in Mr Parker, that he has four associates to back him up.   

Mr Cunliffe was defeated as leader and is unlikely to have  too many warm feelings for Mr Parker. Mr Jones completes his rehabilitation back to the front bench and will want to make his mark during debates in the House.   

Mr Cosgrove, although defeated in his treasured Waimakariri      electorate, is not short of confidence.   

Mr Mallard, who actively worked with former leader Phil Goff and former deputy Annette King to have Mr Shearer elected,      has worked in associate finance roles previously, with former finance minister Michael Cullen.   

Mr Parker will find himself competing for speaking time with Messrs Cunliffe, Cosgrove and Jones.

He’ll also be competing with Finance spokespeople from other opposition parties and his leader didn’t give him a ringing endorsement when announcing the caucus line-up:

“. . . I’m not saying it will be better or worse, I’m saying it will be very different. . . “

Different but not necessarily better on top of the imposition assitance of four associates is no compliment and it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of Parker when the associates are less likely to complement him than compete with him.

December 21 in history


1118  Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury was born  (d. 1170).

1598  Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflicted a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile.

1620 William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

1682 Calico Jack Rackham, English pirate, was born (d. 1720).

1804 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1881).

1815  Thomas Couture, French painter and teacher, was born (d. 1879).

1843 Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealand poet, was born (d. 1898).

1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers commenced business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.

1861  Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

1872  HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth.

1883 The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army were formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.

1892  Rebecca West, British writer, was born  (d. 1983).

1905  Anthony Powell, British author, was born (d. 2000).

1913 Arthur Wynne‘s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, was published in the New York World.

1917  Heinrich Böll, German writer and Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1985).

1937 – Jane Fonda, American actress, was born.

1937  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre.

1946 Carl Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1998).

1958 Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France when his Union des Démocrates pour la République party gained 78.5% of the vote.

1962 – Rondane National Park was established as Norway‘s first national park.

1964 More than 170 years of New Zealand whaling history came to a close when J. A. Perano and Company caught its last whale off the coast near Kaikoura.

NZ whalers harpoon their last victim

1967  Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, died 18 days after the transplant.

1968 Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performed the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and became the first humans to leave Earth’s gravity.

1971 New Zealand Railways (NZR) launched a new tourist-oriented steam passenger venture, the Kingston Flyer.

Full steam ahead for Kingston Flyer

1979 Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia was signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.

1988  A bomb exploded on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270.

1992 – A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashed at Faro Airport, killing 56 people.

1994 – Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupted.

1995 – The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.

1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepted a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.

2004 – Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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