Live donor compensation Bill passes unanimously

December 1, 2016

Life will be easier for people who donate organs thanks to the  Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill  which passed into law last night.

National List MP based in the Hutt Valley Chris Bishop is delighted that his Member’s Bill, the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill, has passed its third and final reading in Parliament unanimously.

“Live organ donors are heroes, but the status quo is manifestly unfair. These donors are compensated at the equivalent of the sickness benefit while they recuperate after their operation, even though their actions save lives, save taxpayers money, and contribute to a better and healthier New Zealand,” Mr Bishop said.

“My Bill will mean that live organ donors receive compensation of 100 per cent of their earnings for up to 12 weeks after the operation. It also allows for pre-operation compensation in some circumstances.”

During his speech Mr Bishop paid tribute to Lower Hutt woman Sharon van der Gulik and her grandson Matt, who inspired him to take the Bill up upon being elected to Parliament in late 2014.

“Mrs van der Gulik approached me at a public meeting in the Hutt during the 2014 election campaign and told me about how her grandson had donated a kidney to her, but was struggling financially after the surgery,” Mr Bishop said.

“I promised her that if I were privileged to be elected, I would look at taking up her cause.

“New Zealand needs to improve its organ donation rates. One big barrier to donation is the financial sacrifice that people are currently required to make while they take time off work for the surgery and recovery.

“The Bill adopts a cost neutrality approach, as in the United Kingdom, and means that people will be neither better or worse off from having donated. This should see more people choosing to donate.

“This will be good for recipients of organs, and also good for taxpayers. Research clearly shows that there are large fiscal gains for taxpayers from increased support for organ donors.

“This is a great day for organ donors in New Zealand.”

Bishop’s speech is here.

I happened to be driving home from Christchurch when the car radio picked up the debate on the second reading of Chris Bishop’s Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill.

The speeches provided a wonderful example of parliament and politicians at their best – non-partisan support for a bill which will help those in need of an organ, ensure donors aren’t out of pocket for donating and also save public money.

Transplants save more than $120k in dialysis costs, net of the cost of the transplant and ongoing care.

Passing the Bill ends the unfairness of donors being penalised for their altruism, it is a positive move for those needing organs and those who donate to them and the multi-party support for the measure shows parliament at its best.

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Death of a despot

November 28, 2016

Fidel Castro’s death has been met with a mixed response.

Some praise him for overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista and improvements in health and education in Cuba.

Others, like Carlos Eire (Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University, condemn him:

If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro’s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points — a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.

●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.

●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.

●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.

●He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.

●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.

●He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.

●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.

●He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.

●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.

●He censored all means of expression and communication.

●He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.

●He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.

●He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.

There might be diplomatic reasons for world leaders to couch their words about Castro in a way that keeps the door to Cuba open.

But when a despot dies it is more than acceptable for the rest of us to speak ill of the dead.

Hat tip: AE Ideas.


Council charges council

November 18, 2016

Hawkes Bay Regional Council has charged the HB District Council in connection with the contamination of Havelock North’s water in August.

The regional council has charged it with resource consent breaches, which it said were discovered during an investigation of the contamination.

The outbreak in August, in which about 5000 people became sick with gastrointestinal illness, occurred when a bore contaminated the Hawke’s Bay town’s water supply with campylobacter.

The council said earlier today it had laid charges against an unnamed party “for alleged offences uncovered in the course of its investigation into the contamination”.

The charges related to evidence of a breach of the party’s resource consent, it said.

“If a breach is proved, the resource consent no longer permits the taking of water. [The regional council] has commenced a prosecution against the party, alleging the unlawful taking of water from the aquifer arising from the alleged failure to meet well head maintenance conditions.”

In a statement this afternoon, the Hastings District Council confirmed it was the charged party.

It said the charges had been laid under the Resource Management Act for a technical breach of the district council’s resource consent conditions for taking water from Brookvale Bores 1 and 2. . . 

Laying charges doesn’t mean the HBDC is guilty.

But if it is found to have been at fault will anyone take back the accusations thrown at farming?


Quote of the day

November 17, 2016

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to parliament [or congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever.  – Auberon Waugh who was born on this day in 1937.

He also said:

Politicians can forgive almost anything in the way of abuse; they can forgive subversion, revolution, being contradicted, exposed as liars, even ridiculed, but they can never forgive being ignored.

And:

There are countless horrible things happening all over the world and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible.


Clinton let her people down

November 16, 2016

I am appalled by Donald Trump’s misogyny and  narcissism but I think he won the presidential race in spite of those traits rather than because of them.

I don’t think Hillary Clinton lost because she was a woman and I simply don’t believe this:

Recently I met a man whose wife is a pilot for American Airlines. Occasionally, he told me, she flies with a female co-pilot. At those times, in certain parts of America, a male passenger will board the plane, see that the cockpit contains two women, and turn around and get off. He would rather not fly than travel in a plane in female hands. . . 

On all but the smallest of planes it’s difficult if not impossible to see the pilots. Whether or not the door to the cockpit is open, one of the cabin crew stands in front of it as passengers enter.

How could someone get on, see both pilots, be more worried about their gender than getting to his destination, get off past the other passengers getting on and not trigger a full-scale terror alert?

The writer, Jennifer Egan continues:

We’ve watched Hillary bear, with dignity . .her shocking defeat by Donald Trump. She is a consummate leader: wry, forbearing, mature.

On election night she didn’t have the courage and composure to face her supporters.

Those hard-core Democrats, who would have worked very, very hard to help her win, had to make do with campaign manager John Podesta.

Failing to front wasn’t dignity.

It was putting herself before her supporters most of whom were volunteers who would have been just as upset as she was.

Failing to front wasn’t the act of a consummate leader.

It was a total lack of leadership.

It wasn’t wry, forbearing or mature.

It was the opposite.

She let her people down.

We were with Americans the weekend before the election. They said they didn’t like Trump but they didn’t trust Clinton.

Her election night failure to front her supporters gives credence to their doubts of her.

If she couldn’t do the right thing on election night, tough though it would have been, how would she have acted when faced with the even tougher tests a president must face?


Rural round-up

November 15, 2016

North Canterbury farmers confronted by milk crisis – Tim Cronshaw, Gerald Piddock, Gerard Hutching:

Dairy farmers across the Kaikoura and North Canterbury region will have to dump their milk into effluent systems or find other ways to deal with it because it cannot be picked up.

Fonterra said road conditions in Kaikoura meant there were about 30 farms that might not have their milk collected, while others around the country might have late collections as tankers were rerouted.

A Federated Farmers spokeswoman said local councils had given the go-ahead for milk to be dumped into paddocks, following the midnight quake. . . 

Farmers pool resources to keep milking:

North Canterbury farmers are rallying together by sharing cow sheds and lending generators as they try to carry out the daily business of running their farms despite some suffering extensive damage from Monday morning’s quake.

Culverden dairy farmer Justin Slattery said about half of Culverden, in north Canterbury, had lost power and he was still waiting for it to come back on at his farm.

Slattery had been using his neighbour’s milking shed and was working around him, meaning his 520 cows got milked almost five hours late on Monday morning. He planned to return at 6pm if power had not returned to his property. . . 

 

Low price impact on milk production slight – Sally Rae:

Milk production eased only slightly in 2015-16, despite the lowest milk prices in at least 20 seasons, figures released by DairyNZ and LIC show.

Production was down 1.5% nationally, despite 52 fewer herds and 20,522 fewer cows than in 2014-15.

South Island production increased 2%, with rises in both Marlborough-Canterbury (2%) and Otago-Southland (2%). . . 

Alexandra space research centre taking off :

A Central Otago space research centre has been tipped as a game changer for Alexandra after it was announced this morning it is to be funded as a regional research institute.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce made the announcement at a breakfast meeting in Alexandra.

Mr Joyce said the New Zealand Research Institute of Viticulture and Oenology in Marlborough had been chosen as the first new regional research institute. 

The Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST), led by Alexandra-based research company Bodeker Scientific requested $15million in funding. . .

Constable Rhys Connell says police want to work in partnership with rural communities – Sue O’Dowd:

Police are committed to working in partnership with rural communities, says Taranaki rural police officer Rhys Connell. 

 “Ninety per cent of rural crime is solved by people in the community who see and hear things and let us know about them,” he told about 50 people at a rural crime prevention national roadshow in Stratford.

The roadshow also visited Tikorangi. Eight roadshows have already been in other areas of the country as part of a joint police, FMG and Federated Farmers initiative to promote rural crime prevention measures. 

“You are our eyes and ears,” Connell said. “It’s us together, not you and us.” . . 

Native mussels thrive in Canterbury stream:

Last year, we heard the story of Nigel Gardiner who found some Endangered native mussels as a result of riparian planting and continued work around the stream to improve its health. Here’s the latest update, a year on since the first discovery.

Endangered native mussels, or Kākahi, are continuing to thrive in the creek on FLO – Triangle farm in Canterbury one year after they were discovered by sharemilker Nigel Gardiner.

Kākahi are one of only three species of the endangered fresh water mussels to exist in New Zealand and can live for between 30 and 50 years. . . 

Far from ‘uneducated’ – Life on this Side of the Fence:

If you watched any of the recent presidential election results, you may have noticed a recurring theme.  As traditionally blue states turned red, a common phrase heard among reporters was that the “uneducated rural community” had made a larger turnout than what was expected.  As a member of the rural community, which is quite educated might I add, I saw a few things wrong with this statement.

First, the political affiliations of a certain group of people should in no way merit the assumption of education, or lack thereof.  In a society that claims to be open to all walks of life and discourages the labeling of cultural groups, I felt that the way rural voters were viewed was quite misguided. . . 

 


Quote of the day

November 14, 2016

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.  – P.J. O’Rourke who celebrates his 69th birthday today.

He also said:

The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.

And:

I rarely meet a politician that I don’t like personally. They are generally well endowed with charm. Therein lies the danger.

And:

 Liberals are always proposing perfectly insane ideas, laws that will make everybody happy, laws that will make everything right, make us live forever, and all be rich. Conservatives are never that stupid.

And:

There is a simple rule here, a rule of legislation, a rule of business, a rule of life: beyond a certain point, complexity is fraud. You can apply that rule to left-wing social programs, but you can also apply that rule to credit derivatives, hedge funds, all the rest of it.

And:

Political discourse has become so rotten that it’s no longer possible to tell the stench of one presidential candidate from the stink of another.

And:

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as ‘caring’ and ‘sensitive’ because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money.

And:

Children live in the only successful Marxist state ever created: the family. ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ is the family’s practice as well as its theory. Even with today’s scattershot patterns of marriage and parenting, a family is collectivist to a more than North Korean degree.


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