Karearea bird of year

October 10, 2012

 

New Zealand’s fastest bird, the karearea/ New Zealand falcon, has been voted the 2012 Bird of the Year.

. . . karearea are also known for their aerial acrobatics. They have a maximum speed of 230km/hr and can catch their prey mid-flight, making this falcon the daredevil of the air.

It received 1255 out of 10223 votes.

Past Winners


Word of the day

October 10, 2012

Enceinte – pregnant; an enclosure or the enclosing wall of a fortified castle, town or other area.


Paddock rules help in parliament?

October 10, 2012

RadioNZ National’s Country Life programme profiled Speaker Dr Lockwood Smith.

It shows him as a farmer rather than a politician, explains his preference for wearing stubbies and includes this insight into safety with bulls:

I never, even bulls that  I’ve known all their lives, that I’ve had at shows, I never take my eye off them. I never turn my back on them, I’m always, always watching them. . . .

Could this rule from the paddock be what helps him keep control in parliament?


Spot the similarities

October 10, 2012

Gerry Eckhoff spots the similarities between social credit and quantitative easing:

. . . I intend to follow the current fashion and print money. Some of you will say that is a heinous crime deserving of the most severe punishment.

Counterfeiting, after all, destroys our monetary system. Society cannot allow the printing of money just because there is a need for more cash. Society’s politicians however now promote printing our own money to solve the world’s financial problems so I figured “sauce for the goose … ” If our politicians believe printing a couple of billion dollars annually to pay for their pet projects is such a good idea, then surely my idea of printing a paltry few dollars for my projects is even better.

As I have no wish to be found guilty of plagiarism, as well as counterfeiting, I must acknowledge the idea to print money as required is not new. Many years ago a Major C. H. Douglas thought it was such a good idea he called it “social credit”, to legitimise the printing of money if and when needed.

Social credit sounded so much better than “money printing”. The good major failed to notice if you increase the supply of a product its value trends downwards. That applies to milk, lamb, beef, timber as well as the money you are printing, so you have to keep printing and producing to retain the status quo. One well-known advocate of this approach is one Robert Mugabe, from Zimbabwe, where his printing presses simply couldn’t keep up with the daily devaluation of their currency but would have been great for the local paper mill if they could only have printed enough money to build one. . . .

Rather surprisingly, the idea of the good Major Douglas and the not-so-good Robert Mugabe, is now fast becoming orthodox monetary policy endorsed by no lesser political and economic giants as our very own Green Party. This print-and-distribute policy has the backing of their MPs who have obviously studied President Mugabe’s model and commitment to printing money as the way to pay off debt. The sheer brilliance of the Greens scheme is that interest rates for borrowers will be zero. This policy will, of course, severely punish those not responsible for the monetary collapse the world’s savers. Those rapacious and retired folk who had scraped together a nest egg in the local bank to assist in their retirement will get no return for their deposit. I do struggle to understand how this policy offers an incentive to all others to save. Meanwhile, it’s business and bonuses as usual for Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan et al. The printing presses are rolling as the international banking industry and politicians now speak not of printing money nor of social credit but of “quantitative easing.” This phrase sounds more like a description given to a ewe about to give birth to triplets rather than a monetary expression but there you have it. All of which gave me the idea to print my own money. If the Feds can do it, if the euro zone can do it, why not me – or you?

. . .  counterfeiting or increasing the money supply for a private benefit is illegal but increasing the money supply by Government for public benefit and electoral advantage is not.

Both however have the same effect on savings and the purchasing power of our dollar and both should be illegal.

I go to jail and Mr Norman goes to Parliament. How does that work?

Gerry isn’t the only one to spot the similarities between social credit and quantitative easing. Democrats for Social Credit leader Stephnie de Ruyter has given the proposal her blessing.


Left don’t learn from history

October 10, 2012

The statistics on the youth unemployment rate are unequivocal – it increased far more steeply than rate for older adults when the youth minimum age was axed by Labour.

But have people and parties on the left learned from that? No.

Yesterday Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson announced a starting-wage for young people and immediately got this response:

Lower wages no solution – from the Council of Trade Unions.

Poverty pay won’t give young people skills or jobs – from the Service and Food workers Union.

More youth to pack for Australia – from  Hone Harawira.

National offers young workers a hefty pay cut – Metiria Turei.

And low wage no future at all from David Shearer.

None of these people have joined the dots between increasing the cost of employing young people and the sharp increase in the unemployment rate for that age group.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association has a far more positive view of the starting-wage:

Everyone concerned about our alarming rates of youth unemployment should be celebrating today’s announcement on the Starting-out wage, says David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for the Employers and Manufacturers Association.

Then they will be looking out for more ways to help, he said.

“Without an incentive an employer with a choice between an experienced worker and an inexperienced worker will choose experience every time,” Mr Lowe said.

“Though there is no silver bullet for creating jobs for young people, the Starting-out wage offers a vital first step up the employment ladder.

“Unless there is an incentive for taking on the added issues of employing youth workers, young people will continue to be over represented in the unemployment numbers.

“The Starting-out wage will restore a form of youth rates that were abolished in 2006 and which proved, as predicted, to hurt the very people its supporters were trying to help.

“Independent research from Pacheco at the time found job opportunities for youth would fall by nearly 20 per cent for all teenagers if youth rates were abolished, but that turned out to be very conservative.”

BusinessNZ also sees the starting-wage will benefit the economy and communities:

Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says having to pay unskilled teenagers at adult rates makes it hard for many young people to get a job.

“Not being able to get that initial job prevents many young people from gaining workplace skills, further reducing their future employment chances.

“A starting-out wage at 80 per cent of the minimum wage for the first six months’ employment will make it easier to employ a young person so they can gain those vital workplace skills.”

Mr O’Reilly said the policy announced today would particularly benefit teenagers who were vulnerable to being trapped on a benefit through being unable to compete effectively for a first job.

Costings indicate that with accommodation and other applicable subsidies unaffected, a teenager on a starting-out wage would earn more than if on a benefit.

“Getting more young people into jobs – especially including those currently on a benefit – will benefit the economy and communities all through New Zealand,” Mr O’Reilly said.

If employers have to pay people the same rate they are almost always going to favour age and experience over youth and inexperience.

Enable them to pay younger people a bit less in recognition of the bigger investment required in training and the bigger risk with people with no work experience, and they will be more willing to take them on.


Canterbury too big for one council

October 10, 2012

ECan commissioners have recommended that a unitary authority be considered for Canterbury for the 2016 elections.

I’m supportive of the idea of unitary authorities in general.

Separate city or district and regional councils add costs and layers of bureaucracy which could be reduced if their functions came under one local body.

But Canterbury is too big and diverse for a single council.

The size of the existing regional council, dominance of Christchurch and distance from it has always been problematic for people in that part of the Waitaki District which comes under ECan, it would be even worse under a single authority.

The Waitaki River has long been a physical and social boundary between Canterbury and Otago, but there could be a case for combining the Waitaki, Waimate and Mackenzie councils as a unitary authority.

It might need Timaru as well to give the numbers and rating base for a viable council and that would provide a reasonable urban/rural balance.

The districts north of the Rangitata River could unite to form another unitary authority with Christchurch.

Two unitary authorities might work, one over such a large area with so many disparate concerns and issues would not.


What’s changed?

October 10, 2012

Convicted rapist Mike Tyson has reapplied for a visa to visit New Zealand.

Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson revoked his visa last week because the letter of support was from an individual not the Life Education Trust.

What’s changed?

Ms Wilkinson said on Tuesday her office has received a new application and it is being looked at. She says she has not seen the application, but understands it is backed by an organisation.

The Manukau Urban Maori Authority said last week it would formally back Tyson and help his tour’s promoter reapply for the visa.

He might have the support of an organisation but he’s still a convicted rapist who continues to deny he committed the crime and who shows no remorse.

Is this really the sort of man the authority wants to be helping?

Is this the sort of man we want in New Zealand, billed as a champion?


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