Chocolate matters

February 4, 2015

The world is a sweet place when a story about chocolate downsizing makes the news:

Cadbury Confectionery is reducing the size of its family block as the chocolate maker battles higher manufacturing costs.

But while the block would be reduced by 10% to avoid a price rise, the company’s owner said its Dunedin factory was going from strength to strength.

”We didn’t take this decision lightly,” said Jack Evison, the New Zealand head of Mondelez, the company that owns Cadbury.

”More of our manufacturing costs are going up than down. Other chocolate companies are also under pressure. Two are in significant trouble in Australia.

”We chose to reduce the size of the block rather than up the price so we can keep chocolate as an affordable treat. The quality and taste will remain the same.” . . .

Chocolate is one of my vices, albeit one I’ve learned to indulge in moderation.

A friend recommended a square or two of chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa after dinner as a way to satisfy cravings and I’ve found it works.

But in the quest for quality rather than quantity I discovered Lindt from Switzerland so that habit won’t be affected by the downsizing.

However, I use Cadbury chocolate to make a chocolate hazelnut Christmas tree and a smaller block will mess with the proportions in the recipe.


Write positive

January 16, 2015

Labour’s campaign slogan vote positive didn’t have the impact it sought but new leader Andrew Little is seeking someone to write positive:

. . . Little is advertising for a new chief press secretary to head the party’s media and communications strategy, and the successful applicant is expected to ensure Little appears “in a positive story on the 6pm news at least twice a week”.

Positive news coverage depends on what the leader, the caucus and the party saying and doing..

No amount of spin will counter the mixed messages, ill-judged policy, caucus dissent and party disunity which has dogged Labour for several years.

Other key targets put emphasis on social media, including 100,000 “likes” for the party’s Facebook page, up from about 38,000 now, and 40,000 “likes” for Little’s Facebook page by the 2017 election. It currently boasts 10,422 “likes”.

Little’s new spin doctor will also be expected to increase Labour’s email contact list to 200,000 by the 2017 general election, from about 87,000 now.

Electronic communication is cheap but few beyond political tragics are interested in party communications.

One of the best ways to increase the contact list would be by increasing the membership from its current state of around 10,000 at best but that is the job for the party not a publicly funded press secretary.

The advertisement has already prompted senior press gallery reporters to plot creative ways to thwart another expected result – weekly meetings with key press gallery journalists. . .

That’s key with a small k.

Positive media coverage is helpful but it’s not enough in itself.

John Key and National won their third term with an extra seat in spite of unrelenting negative media coverage.

That’s because they had a proven track record, a disciplined caucus, a strong united party and of course a leader who genuinely likes people and is liked in return.

Labour has a long way to go to equal that and it will take a lot more than positive media releases to do it.


Freedom only for those with whom agree?

December 9, 2014

Judith Collins’ first column in the Sunday Star Times has provoked an outpouring from the left about media bias and right-wing conspiracies.

The column was about an issue of health and safety in the building industry which a constituent brought to her notice.

It wasn’t party political. It’s highlighting the sort of issue which comes to MPs’ notice and which the good ones act on.

The condemnation from the left wasn’t universal. Brian Edwards  defended the column.

But others from that end of the spectrum threatened to cancel their subscriptions.

They appear to not grasp the concept that freedom of expression isn’t only for those whose opinions with which you agree.

 

 

 


Aussies, Kiwis, what’s the difference?

November 3, 2014

Stuff explains:

A Chicago newspaper has apologised after delivering the ultimate insult to the All Blacks and New Zealand – calling them Australians.

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a story on the USA vs All Blacks game with a standfirst which read: ”Sell-out crowd watches legendary Aussie team dominate Americans”.

o their credit, the Sun-Times added a correction to their online story this afternoon.

“In the Sunday editions of the Sun-Times, the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team was incorrectly referred to as Aussies. The Sun-Times apologizes for the error.”

It appeared to be an editing error, as the writer, Brian Sandalow, mentions in his opening paragraph that the team is in fact the ”New Zealand All Blacks”. . .

It’s possible a reporter here writing about a minority support from a very small country might well get confused about the origin of the team too.

 


Governing for all NZ

September 23, 2014

Prime Minister-elect John Key said in his victory speech he wants to govern for all New Zealand:

“I will lead a Government that will govern for all New Zealanders” was a quote from Mr Key’s acceptance speech that stood out for many.

“I wrote the speech that was delivered on Saturday night because I wanted them to be my words and it was how I felt,” says Mr Key.

That is what every government should do.

The criticism that National only cares about the wealthy is nothing more than left-wing rhetoric.

One of its strengths is economic management but that isn’t the end, it’s the means to affording the services and infrastructure which benefit all of us.

The people who are hurt the most by poor management and sluggish or negative growth are the most vulnerable.

“There will be some New Zealanders who say, ‘Well, he may have made a difference, but not positively to my life.”

To them Mr Key says “[We in National] have certainly tried our best to do that”.

But he knows he must now carve his legacy.

“Helen Clarke will be remembered for the Cullen Fund or the Working For Families,” he says. “If it all ends on Saturday night, I would like to be remembered for leadership around the Christchurch earthquakes and [getting through] the global financial crisis.”

Robert Muldoon’s ambition, “to leave the country in no worse shape than I found it”, Mr Key describes as having an incredibly low ambition.

“I want to leave the country in better shape than I found it,” he says. . .

We were already in recession and facing a decade of deficits when National won the 2008 election.

National has us back on track to surplus just six years later in spite of the GFC and the earthquakes.

These quotes were taken from an interview by John Campbell which you can watch at the link above.

It was a very good interview which allowed the PM to answer questions without interruptions and viewers to form their opinions on what was said.

Why on earth didn’t we have that sort of interview during the election campaign?

 

 


Making mockery of marriage

September 21, 2014

This appalls and saddens me:

Two best mates married each other at Eden Park this morning in a radio station promotion which rewards them with a trip to the Rugby World Cup.

Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick, both heterosexual men, tied the knot as winners of the Edge’s Love You Man competition.

The best mates from Dunedin beat 200 other bromance couples around New Zealand to walk down the aisle at Eden Park. . .

Marriage vows are supposed to be taken seriously.

Marriage is, as the traditional service says,  not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly . . .

Marriage  isn’t something you do for a radio station stunt.

I’m a celebrant and I would refuse to take a ceremony for a couple if I had any reason to doubt their intentions and commitment to each other and their marriage.

 

 

 


Policy matters

August 21, 2014

Wayne Mapp asks: So is this going to be the first policy-free election?

One would hope not. We are still getting over the aftermath of the GFC of 2008-2011. The inequality debate is directly stimulated by that event. Christchurch has still got a lot of rebuilding to do, with all the different choices that implies.

But over the last week any substantive policy issues were virtually drowned out. How many people know about the Greens’ child and welfare policies, or National’s cycling announcement? And without actually looking it up, I could not think of what Labour has promised in the past week. On checking, it was free doctors’ visits for those over 65.

But that is the problem with non-party actors attempting to hijack election news; it crowds out the policies that will actually be the basis of governing the country. And if people can’t recall the policies of the parties due to their naturally limited bandwidth, they are more likely to revert to their general sense of which party they will support. Of course many would say that is a good enough basis to decide how to vote, but it rather makes a mockery of election campaigns and the manifesto commitments each party makes. . .

Yesterday two people who know I’m active in the National Party opened a conversation about the election.

Both said they had no interest in the side shows, both wanted to know more about policy.

Policy matters but most never gets reported and even less gets serious analysis.


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