Spitting Image

23/09/2021


Satirists strike

15/06/2021

Satirists have declared a strike.

”Our ancient art of ridiculing the pompous, the powerful and the simply stupid has been made redundant by reality,” Society of Satirists (SOS) spokesman She’llbe Poking-Borax said.

”For goodness sake, how can we compete with politicians who state with straight faces that they haven’t broken promises of no more and no higher taxes by choosing to rename them?

”A tax by any other name be it fee, levy or any other title is still a tax to those of us taxed.

“And if trying to convince us a tax isn’t a tax isn’t bad enough, the government that is supposedly kind to both people and the planet, is introducing one that will force the poor to subsidise the rich and do nothing for the environment.

”If we tried to make this up we’d be booed off the stage.”

Ms Poking-Borax said that the increase in people decrying racism while being racist; demanding we treat everyone equally while campaigning to make some more equal than others and denying biological reality for those whose sex doesn’t match their desired gender was hard enough.

“Then you have the government trying to save the environment with policies that do more damage, like banning gas and coal mining here then having to import dirtier coal from overseas,” she said.

But the final straw which broke the satirists back was this:

School Strike 4 Climate Auckland is disbanding as an organisation

This is under the suggestion and guidance of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) members of our group, as well as individual BIPOC activists and organisations. We are not holding any more climate strikes in the Auckland region. Our members have also separated from the national SS4C team. Going forward, we will only be using our social media to uplift BIPOC-led climate justice spaces in Auckland.

BIPOC communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, so the fight for climate justice should be led by their voices and needs, not Pākehā ones.

We are disbanding because, since 2019, SS4C AKL (as well as the wider national group, though we can’t speak on their behalf) has been a racist, white-dominated space. SS4C AKL has avoided, ignored, and tokenised BIPOC voices and demands, especially those of Pasifika and Māori individuals in the climate activism space. As well as this, the responsibility and urgent need to decolonise the organisation has been put off for far too long. SS4C also delayed paying financial reparations for the work BIPOC groups/individuals within and alongside the group have done for this organisation in the past.

We apologise for the hurt, burnout, and trauma caused to many BIPOC individuals, including current and past members, as well as BIPOC-led groups. We also apologise for the further trauma caused by our slow action to take responsibility. We recognise that this apology can never be enough to make up for our actions on top of years of systemic and systematic oppression, racism, and the silencing of those who are the most affected by climate change. This apology is just one of our steps in taking accountability for our actions.

We acknowledge that our attitude has been racist and dismissive of the voices that have rightly spoken out against us and we apologise deeply for the pain we have caused. In saying this, we also need to acknowledge that racism is a big problem within the SS4C NZ team as well, but that we have made this decision independently from them.

We recommend you all redirect your support, resources and involvement to BIPOC activists, spaces and causes, especially those that are led by Pasifika and Māori people. This includes groups such as 4TK ( 4TK), Pacific Climate Warriors ( Pacific Climate Warriors – Auckland ), Para Kore Ki Tāmaki ( PARA KORE KI TĀMAKI), Protect Mataharehare ( Protect Mataharehare ), Protect Pūtiki ( Protect Pūtiki), Save Canal Road Native Trees ( Save Canal Road Native Trees ), Te Ara Whātu ( Te Ara Whatu).

We also suggest supporting BIPOC climate activists in Aotearoa such as Aigagalefili (Fili) Fepulea’i-Tapua’i (@rascal.gal), Lourdes Vano (@lourdes.vano), and Luke Wihone (@luke.wijohn), Brianna Fruean (@briannafruean), Indi Logan-Riley (@indiamiro).

(Please see our Instagram post for their insta accounts https://www.instagram.com/p/CQAtpa6Nli-/…)

If you are a BIPOC-led climate/social justice organisation or a BIPOC climate/social justice activist, please let us know if/how we can help by messaging our Instagram, Facebook, or emailing aklschoolstrike4climate@gmail.com. We will uplift your kaupapa and Mahi through this platform, or any other means available to us.

The climate justice space must be led by BIPOC groups and others who are disproportionately affected by climate change. In Aotearoa, this especially means Māori and Pasifika groups.

We fully discourage any future and current Pākehā-led groups from occupying the space we leave behind.

School Strike 4 Climate Auckland

“I’m lost for words,” Ms Poking-Borax said.

”We can’t compete with that so we’re striking and will continue to withhold our satirical services until politicians and activists get back to serious business and leave the satirising to us.”


Govt to give business a breather

01/04/2021

The government has responded to the call to give business a breather.

“We’ve listened to the litany of woe that business organisations and individual businesses have made to us directly and through the media and we can see why they think they need a breather,” a spokesperson for the Minister of Business and Other Inconveniences (MBOI) said.

“We are fully cognizant of the difficulties about which they are complaining and while none of our policy makers have actually, in fact had what you might call first hand, real life, practical experience of owning or even running a business, we can see how those who are doing so might be feeling somewhat overwrought.

“While we in government are also not only having to deal with rising costs, increased compliance and Covid-19 complications, but design policy to deal with them, and add more, and are doing so without complaint, we have been made aware of the fact that for reasons not quite clear to us, the private sector doesn’t seem to be dealing with this with the same equanimity.

In light of that we’re offering to show any and all businesses how to take a breather by means of laughter yoga which has medically proven benefits for respiration and stress relief.”

“Unfortunately owing to constraints on resources, our offer will end at midday.”


Diplomacy 101

05/02/2021

The Taxpayers’ Union has come across a helpful and not at all patronising guide to Diplomacy 101 for our Australian friends:

A masterclass by Hon Damien O’Connor, Minister of Trade.

The enhanced free trade agreement with China has passed and I was ready to bask in the media adulation. This was quite the feather in my West Coast fishing hat given I had only been Minister of Trade for less than four months – most of that over the summer break.

I must confess to being later surprised and disappointed at the lack of media adulation, even from The Spinoff. Apparently, this deal had been worked on for years and was bound to happen. One of my young staffers (or possibly a new Labour MP, it’s hard to tell these days) suggested that “even Phil Twyford could have gotten this agreement through.”

Back home we would have thrown the troublemaker down a mine, back in the days we had mines on the West Coast. Today, he’d probably hit some camera drone stuck in a rockfall and I would get sued. I miss the old days.

Putting that slight setback behind, it was time to establish my legacy beyond just trade. I plan to be a player on the world stage. The starting point was obvious: Our closest neighbour and major trading partner, Australia. They are always open to constructive criticism from Kiwis.

International relations with China seemed like a safe place to start my global punditry. Neither Australia nor China are at all touchy about third parties commenting on their geo-political affairs.

After reading a copy of The Economist which had been sitting in my lobby for nearly four months, I decided against lecturing the Aussies. Under that brash exterior, they are sensitive and surprisingly fragile souls. So instead, I went with the educative approach.

My key messages were:

    • Do what New Zealand does, because we are better than Australia.
    • Be respectful to China like New Zealand is. Australia, by inference, is not.
    • Develop a mature relationship with China like New Zealand has. Australia, by inference, has not. I am not saying the Sino-Ocker relationship is immature, just that it is not mature.
    • My counterparts in Canberra should choose their words carefully because words matter in diplomacy. I think that I have graphically demonstrated that principle here.

My comments got a lot of media coverage which is obviously a good thing when most people do not know that you have been an MP for 26 years and a Minister of the Crown for nine years.

Once I actually read the media coverage, it was not as positive as I expected. In fact, it was not positive at all. I wanted headlines like “Magnanimous Minister helps struggling Trans-Tasman sibling”. Instead, I get “A trade minister goes on record going way off script.” That’s not very kind. Ingrates.

The media has overlooked my credentials in cross-border trade. I have brokered deals between Greymouth and New Plymouth, which counts as international commerce where I come from.

I heard that the Australian Trade Minister – you know, whatshisname – respects my view. Quite right, and I think this reflects my standing in the international pecking order. However, that same pesky staffer, who I would have fired if Andrew Little had not abolished all the laws allowing you to fire people, pointed out that “respects my view” in Australian Parliamentary slang is short for “bring it outside mate, if you think you are hard enough.”

Australian politics are odd. Still, at least Grant Robertson respects my view here. He told me himself at Cabinet the other day.

Bottom line: I antagonised both our major trading partners in one interview for no discernable reason.

Key thing is: Got my name in the paper!

 


Anatomy of a Prison Disorder Incident

14/01/2021

The Taxpayers’ Union has a scoop on what Kelvin Davis was up to during the ‘prison disorder incident’:

2020 was one heck of a year – excuse my strong language – and I definitely need this six-to-eight-week taxpayer funded holiday to recharge my batteries.

Happily out fly fishing, which is clearly listed as one of my key strengths on my Ministerial CV, before being interrupted by a call from a random press secretary about some prison riot. I inform her that I am the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and would be Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand if hadn’t given that up totally voluntarily, and this is clearly a matter for the mere Minister of Corrections.

She rather tersely informs me that I am the mere Minister of Corrections, that she is my press secretary, and she has been so for three years. Well, that was awkward. I think the tension scared all the fish away. So, might as well do one of my patented strategy sessions when dealing with a crisis.

First, some research. It turns out Waikeria Prison is a real prison and there is a riot going on right now. For me, there were three tell-tale clues of riotness – prisoners are supposed to be in the cells, guards should be in charge and the only ones with weapons, and the top half of the prison should definitely not be on fire.

I build myself a desk fort, to keep to the haters out, while I think. The Ministerial cushions I have ‘borrowed’ from my Ministerial residence are excellent for this task. Part of the COVID-19 tourism recovery fund was used to embroider my name, face, and signature, on every piece of my office furniture. I will sleep well tonight.

The next day at the lodge, after a leisurely brunch of paua fritters, cantaloupe salad, and pineapple Raro, I pull out my best Winnie the Pooh notebook and a fresh pack of coloured pencils. This is going to be my best plan ever, though admittedly H1 and H2 had drafted a pretty comprehensive crisis response template for me after several ‘communication issues’ in the first term.

    1. Do nothing. I cannot stress this enough.
    2. Say nothing.
    3. Wait to see if someone else does something. If it works, take credit for it.
    4. If it does not work, accuse people of politicising the event.
    5. Have your staff avoid media calls as best as possible. If they absolutely have to talk to the vultures, they should refer only to “protestors” in a “prison disorder incident”.
    6. If at all possible, somehow blame the previous National Government and particularly former Corrections Minister Judith Collins.
    7. Wait for the disorder to end, emerge, and take credit. Six days should be enough.
    8. Reveal that you were receiving hourly updates on the incident, but do not explain why you never mentioned this before the riot ended.
    9. Do not, under any circumstances, get drawn on whether you actually read those briefings, far less what you did about them.
    10. Resume fly fishing. Trout for dinner. Job well done.

Grant Robertson comes down to my office, carried on a sedan chair by four aides, with a fifth sprinkling rose petals in his path. This is rarely a good sign.

He proclaims that my portfolio might have to pay for rebuilding the prison that got burnt down. That seems unfair. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. The disorder was about housing standards so, like every second policy in this Government, it is Megan Woods’s responsibility. She should have to pay.

Defending myself, I argue to Grant that if Waikeria Prison had been properly upgraded then there would not have been these issues of standards. Grant agrees, but then ruins the moment by pointing out that one of my first and only moves as Minister of Corrections was to cancel National’s planned upgrade of Waikeria. This is a setback.

Oh well, at least I am still Labour Deputy Leader and Minister of Corrections. It seems literally nothing can change that.


A lesson from the gospel of greenwash

03/12/2020

In the beginning there were words and the words were many and the words were warm and they were well meant.

However, the actions that followed the words were few and some of the direction was backwards and the progress was tiny..

But the people liked the words and the warmth and they didn’t listen to the ones who pointed out that style over substance was not good and they voted for more.

And the people got more words and the words were strong and they spoke of an emergency and they foretold doom unless a declaration was made.

And so a declaration was made and a cloud of hot air rose as policy was announced.

Verily the servants of the public shall drive vehicles powered by electricity and it matters not that the prophet who knows the science says electric cars are good fun for wealthy virtue signallers, but a dreadful way to save the planet and the rich world’s drive to electric cars gets us nowhere.

Some heard the prophet and they declared that science was essential and that policy must have a positive impact and to beware of the devil in the details.

But the people didn’t heed the prophet and his followers. They shut their eyes to the detail and their ears to those who said that planting trees could not offset emissions from fossil fuels but they could offset methane from stock for they were listening to the words and the words were warm and they were well meant.

And the people were comforted and they knew that if they kept listening they could feel virtuous and they would not need to do anything because the one with the warm words and fine feelings had spoken and they believed that the words could turn back the tide and they felt safe.


Minimum wage increase on hold

01/04/2020

The government has come to its senses and put a hold on the minimum wage rise that was supposed to come into effect today.

Employers, business groups and economists have argued that imposing a pay increase on businesses in the current environment would endanger businesses and risk jobs for the people the policy was aiming to help.

“We realised that a steep increase would have been imprudent at the best of times and foolish in the extreme when so many businesses are unable to function and so many people are facing redundancy,” spokesperson for the Ministry of Policy Reversals Ms Fairly Frugal said.

“When the government is asking everyone to unite for health’s sake we realised we had to stand together with employers and wait until the economy picks up before forcing a wage increase on them.

”It was a difficult decision but difficult times require governments to accept that political philosophy has to take a backseat to prudence and common sense.”

Business groups greeted the announcement with muted enthusiasm.

”It’s good to have our concerns acknowledged, but we’re not very happy that the hold on the increase will only be until noon,” BusynessNZ spokesperson Ms Penny Wise said.


Peters suing himself for defamation

06/11/2019

New Zealand First leader and deputy leader Winston Peters is suing himself for defamation.

He made the decision after realising his claim that publicising details of his superannuation overpayment was defamatory made him realise that his reputation was already low in the opinion of right-thinking people and that was as a direct result his own words and actions.

“After some deep contemplation, on what I’ve said and done and how I’ve said and done it, I have to admit that I have been guilty of that which I accuse others,” he said. “That is, making right-minded people at best think less of me and sadly, too often hold me in contempt.

“Of course it’s the media’s fault and my political opponents have done all they can to aid and abet them.

“If they didn’t stir up matters best left unstirred and uncover things best left covered, the public wouldn’t know anything about those things that make those right-thinking people think less of me.

“A man ought to be left in peace to not read cabinet papers, use taxpayers’ money for electioneering, respond to questions with bluster and equivocation, to accept the baubles of power in contradiction of earlier assertions he was not tempted by them, to do what he said he wouldn’t and not do what he said he would.

“But they would keep digging and stirring and asking questions that paint a picture of me that I have to admit is almost a self-portrait, a picture of me for which I, though my own behaviour, am responsible and therefore I have no option but to sue myself for defaming myself.”

Mr Peters said it was blindingly obvious that a man with a reputation already lowered by himself could not accuse others of lowering it.

“Any fool can see that right-thinking people, amongst whom you will not find the media or my political opponents, already think so little of me it would be an impossibility to go lower in their estimation and the blame for that lies with me.”

When asked if he would attempt to settle with himself out of court, Mr Peters simply held up a sign on which the word no was printed.


Working group to review working groups

01/04/2019

The government has announced the formation of a working group to work on reviewing all the working groups it’s formed.

“The government has been listening to the public’s growing concerns about the number of committees and working groups in operation and the uncertainty and lack of action that results from this,” chair of the new committee, Ann Overseer, said.

“They decided that the best way to ensure all these bodies were actually doing something worthwhile was to form another committee with complete oversight of all of them.

“Policy is a complex best and if the government is to get the outcomes it wants that are both practical and politically saleable, it needs to ensure the working groups are working and working well.”

Ms Overseer declined to comment on whether her group was formed because the report from the Tax Working Group (TWG) was such a dog’s breakfast.

“It’s not my job to comment on the whys and wherefores of what’s gone on before. My committee and I will be busy enough focussing on ensuring that no canine fodder will be delivered in any other report.”

The new group will be called the Committee to Review all Panels (CRaP).

In order to minimise costs it will be expected to work expeditiously and report its first findings by midday today.

 

 


A plot so cunning . .

01/02/2019

The play opens in a private room with a well stocked bar.

Simon raising a glass: Well done Jim, your report‘s upset every employer group and business organisation in the country.

Jim: Thank you. (takes a sip of whiskey) You don’t think I’ve overdone it?

Paula: No, not at all. It’s just what we need – recommendations so ridiculously pro-union and anti-employer and worker, even the really left-wing media will have to admit it would be madness to follow them.

Just look at the media releases.

The EMA says  Fair Pay Agreements make no economic sense, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce says they’re not fit for the future of work, and BusinessNZ says the compulsory nature of fair pay agreements and the risk of industrial action and productivity loss are key concerns.

Amy: You sounded really convincing, as if you believed what you were saying. And it’s so cleverly designed to handicap growth, hamstring productivity and act as a hand brake on innovation that it can’t possibly be actioned.

Simon: I was only a kid but I remember Mum and Dad talking about how the unions used to wield all the power, hold businesses to ransom, and how hard it was when workers were forced to strike ran out of money to feed themselves and their families.

Paula: We’ll have to be careful about that because a lot of people would have been too young to really remember what it was like, they might think we’re just scaremongering.

Amy: Even farmers who hadn’t been born in the 60, 70s and early 80s know the stories of how hard it was when the freezing workers kept striking so they couldn’t get stock killed, even when they were running out of feed and facing very real animal welfare issues.

Paula:  Good point. And of course the threat of all those Christmas flights being cancelled gave younger people a taste of what could happen and reminded older ones what used to happen – ferries dock-bound every school holidays because the wharfies or cooks and stewards were on strike.

Simon: Those so-called failed policies you introduced have sure saved workers and businesses big and small a lot of heart ache, Jim. Our productivity over the last few decades hasn’t been anything to celebrate but think how much worse it would have been with national awards, compulsory unionism and all the trouble that went with them.

Jim: takes another sip of his whiskey,  swallows, Yeah, I guess that’s why I’m worried about the report. People are going to think I’ve gone gaga recommending we go back to those bad old days.

Simon: Ah well, we all make sacrifices for the good of the party, Jim. You know how much we appreciate the ammunition you’ve given us, and of course we know there’s no risk of anything too serious going through because your friend W-

A knock on the door sounds. Paula opens the door and tales a note from a secretary.

Paula: It’s for you Jim. She hands it to him.

Jim:  takes another sip of whiskey, smiles. Ah yes, speak of the devil, Winston has just phoned, he wants me to call him.


Comedians striking

29/01/2019

Comedians across New Zealand are striking in protest against a hostile takeover of their territory.

“When people say politics is a joke, that’s not supposed to be taken seriously, but seriously what’s happening now is a joke and that’s a threat to our livelihoods,”  Funny Business spokesperson Fairly Humourous said.

“It started some years ago. Remember how the bloke who wouldn’t want his daughter dating anyone who isn’t Maori and who’s anti-immigration was bought by a German fraudster with a fetish for racist humour?

“Then an ardent campaigner for feminism and against capitalism, racism and business allowed herself to be bought by the same bloke even though he’d made much of his money from pornography.

“They compounded that by starting a campaign against the very rules which they were rorting to get into parliament.

“So it’s not new but it’s getting worse.

“We’ve got a government that won’t entertain a change in tax thresholds to keep middle income earners out of the top tax bracket but will give tax breaks for good looking horses.

”It tells us it’s going to tackle poverty but leaves poor people homeless while subsidising people on high incomes into flash new houses.

“If that wasn’t a sick enough joke they’ve made it even sicker by not being able to build a fraction of the number of houses they set as a target and now they’re arguing about whether or not it’s still a target.

”It wants New Zealand to be smoke-free and also wants to decriminalise or even legalise pot.

”It’s got an Immigration Minister who gifts a crook residence after spending less than an hour reading a report when anyone else would’ve deported him in seconds.

”It’s spending billions giving fee-free education to tertiary students whether or not what they study has any value and chucking billions at projects in the regions without any cost-benefit analysis. But it won’t put a cent into Taratahi to train farm workers when there’s a crying need for staff throughout the horticultural and agricultural sector.

“And this sort of silliness is not just in New Zealand. Ponder this: Saudi Arabia has been elected to the UN Board for Gender Equality.

“We couldn’t make this sort of nonsense up, we’d be booed off the stage.

”It’s all very well for the Prime Minister to get headlines round the world mouthing pretty phrases about wellbeing. But what’s this governmental funny business doing to our wellbeing?

”Fine words don’t fill seats in theatres and clubs and why would people pay to see us when they can watch the government playing for laughs for free.

“These jokers have  blurred the lines between tragedy and comedy for us and now we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

Ms Humorous said the incursion into comedians territory by politicians was no laughing matter.

“Adding insult to injury, it’s our tax that’s paying them and they’re earning more than we could dream of.

“We can’t compete with them so we’re striking in the hope we can mobilise support for our campaign to get jokes and jokers out of government.

”They must leave the funny business to real comedians, get it out of the Beehive and back on stage and screen where it belongs.“


CK to save $billions

15/10/2018

The government has a new strategy to save billions of dollars – relying on common knowledge (CK) instead of research and facts.

The seed for the initiative was planted by Energy Minister Megan Woods.

When asked about advice to back up her assertion that MBIE was wrong to say a ban on oil and gas exploration would have a negligible impact on domestic emissions and likely increase global emissions she said it was “very common knowledge” that was “widely held”.

“When the Prime Minsiter heard this she said a light went on and she immediately ordered a whole-of-government strategy to base all policy on CK,” spokesperson Bright Spark said.

”We’ll be able to ditch all the working groups for a start and that will save millions, but that’s only the beginning.

”With CK to guide us there will be no need for most of the roles at Treasury and the research positions in policy development at all the ministries and government departments will go too.

”We’ll be able to get rid of all the research bodies and a lot of the work of universities will become redundant.

”We won’t need robust data and scientific methods if we’ve got CK, especially if it’s widely held.

MS Spark said she didn’t have exact figures for the savings, but based on CK, she could confidently say they would soon amount to billions.

When asked about National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young‘s assertion that Woods had failed to defend the indefensible, Ms Spark said it was common knowledge that this was merely an opposition tactic to discredit assertions based on facts.

”With CK, facts are an outmoded, and expensive concept. We won’t be taking any notice of them.”

Ms Spark said the government was working on an even more radical suggestion to base all policy on common sense (CS) as well as, or instead of, CK.

”But we’re having difficulty finding any. It’s a pretty rare commodity around here and we’re not sure there will be enough to make it work.”

 

 


From fake meat to fake veg

12/10/2018

Sick of meat that isn’t meat saying it is?

How about a meat-based carrot?

Right now the only, fake meat on the market is what they call, “plant based meat” which isn’t meat at all its mushed up plants, but because eating plants sucks they have to pull a trick and color it, add who knows what to it, and call it meat. Now where I come from, if you try to sell something by calling it something that it isn’t, they call that fraud and its illegal. That’s not how it works on Wall Street or in investment presentations in Silicon Valley. There you don’t have to make sense as long as you can explain your lie with more lies and show a graph that has up arrows on it, they’re in. 

Fake Vegetables

With all this money being poured into fake meat, it gave me an idea. Instead of taking a food that everyone loves…meat, and making a fake one out of foods that everyone doesn’t really love… vegetables. Why not make fake foods…vegetables out of great tasting food… meat? Of course it doesn’t make any sense, but that doesn’t seem to matter at all anymore. So I’m doing it. I’m all in and here it is. I present you the meat based carrot. 

Best looking carrot I’ve ever laid eyes on. Throw that baby on the grill. Stick it in a hot dog bun, maybe a little ketchup and mustard and its the tastiest carrot the world has ever known, but don’t you go calling it a hot dog, or hamburger, or anything else besides a carrot because that is what it is. A delicious healthy carrot.  And that’s just the beginning, I’m gonna be making all kinds of great tasting veggies out of meat. My next product, I think will be a bacon based lettuce. Imagine that salad. No dressing required. Just a bowl full of beautiful, succulent bacon leaves. 

I haven’t completely decided on a name yet but in honor of the two fakest meat companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, I’m leaning towards, Beyond Impossible Vegetables. It has a nice fraudulent ring to it. . .

My farmer had a fake meat burger on a flight home from the USA last month. He offered me a bite.

One bite was enough, the taste wasn’t memorable and the texture was mushy.

So why bother?

I enjoy eating vegetables and usually eat lots of them. I sometimes choose to eat meatless meals and if I’m doing so I want to enjoy them as vegetables in the many and varied ways they can be served in vegetarian meals.

I don’t want vegetables that are pretending to be meat, especially if they are purporting to be better for both human and environmental health when often they are not.

 

 


Saturday’s smiles

22/09/2018

Apropos of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand,  The Huffington Post led me to this poster by poet and activist Alice Duer Miller :

LOOK: 5 Reasons Why Men Shouldn’t Vote In 1915
why men shouldnt vote


MoP sets new rules for equality

01/04/2018

The Ministry of People (MoP) has issued new rules for equality.

People Minister Julie Strictly-Gentle said she had been concerned for sometime that the movement for equality had all been one-sided.

”Everyone has been focused on getting young people of the female and/or ethnic kind into top executive and governance roles. No-one has even considered the importance of ensuring there are plenty of old white men in non-traditional roles,” she said.

“It distresses me that almost everyone accepts an old white man at a sitting at a board table. We won’t have true equality until it’s just as acceptable to have him on his hands and knees scraping play dough off the floor.”

“Previous Ministers have focused on only half the job, trying to help young women of many cultures into the board room with their hands on the levers of power. I see it just as important to help old white men into eco-friendly rubber gloves with their hands in the nappy bucket.

Consultation on the new rules will finish at midday today.


Rural round-up

10/12/2017

Liam Hehir DESTROYS a neoliberal farmer – Liam Hehir:

When I went out to see my parents the other night, Dad looked pretty worried. Every now and then I would catch him looking out the window at the sea of yellowing grass on our little dairy farm. “It’s going to be one of the worst droughts in decades,” he said absentmindedly.

My patience wore thin. “You usually vote for National, right?” I asked. Dad said nothing in silent confirmation.

I adopted my most scolding voice.

“You farmers have a lot of nerve being upset about this. You lot are always voting National. But National is the party that allowed water bottling companies to dig up our water and ship it overseas. Surprise, surprise, we’ve run out – it’s all in other countries! Now you have the temerity to wince and try to guilt us over the great summer we’re enjoying?” . . 

James and Bridget’s farm:

From the farmers:

Hi, we’re James and Bridget and we run Quambatook farm near Oamaru. The Aboriginal name of Quambatook means ‘place of rest’. We are fifth generation farmers in partnership with James’ parents Ray and Kathrin McNally.

We converted to dairy ten years ago and currently milk 800 cows increasing to 900 in the 18/19 season. We have three children, Charlotte (5), Jimmy (3) and Olivia (1). They all love getting out and about on the farm and helping.

Our main purpose is to be environmental stewards for the next generation and dairy farming is providing us with a pathway to succession.  We would love to have people come and visit our farm to inform and educate them about how a sustainable dairy business works and show them how much we care about our environment. . . 

Open Gates day a chance for farmers to show they care about the environment – Gerald Piddock:

Wynn Brown hopes opening the gates of his dairy farm will put a human face on an industry that increasingly is offside with the public.

The Matamata dairy farmer is one of eight farmers around Waikato and 40 around the country taking part in Fonterra’s Open Gates day on Sunday, December 10.

The industry “had taken a fair bit of a beating” over the last six months and he hoped the day would go some way to changing that.

“My hope is that it bridges the gap between urban and rural and that urban people can see that we are trying hard to do the right thing.” . . 

Meat company choice clearer than it’s every been – Allan Barber:

November used to be the month when we could get a comprehensive idea of the financial state of the meat industry because annual results were published in quick succession by three of the major processors: Alliance, Silver Fern Farms and AFFCO. When AFFCO was absorbed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Talley’s, there were still the two cooperatives to provide a comparison, but now SFF’s balance date is 31st December. So we must now wait until March to find out about ANZCO and SFF. This means Alliance’s result is the only one which can give a factual record of the traditional meat year, while it is still reasonably fresh in the mind.

Therefore the headline numbers – turnover up 13%, $20.2 million operating profit (2016 $10.1 m), $11.4 million pool distributions ($9.8 m) and 71% equity (70.6%) – make encouraging, if not exactly overwhelming, reading and suggest Alliance has turned a corner after last year’s near breakeven performance, while also indicating a better trading environment for the industry as a whole. This has also occurred against the backdrop of improved returns for sheep and beef farmers. That said, last season was easier for sheep meat dominant processors than for those with larger beef businesses because of the respective climate effects on livestock flows. . . 

Mouldy fed threatens animal health – Pam Tipa:

Mycotoxins threaten animal health and producer profits, so identifying and addressing these hidden challenges is important for farmers.

The Alltech 37+ test now identifies five extra mycotoxins that can threaten animal health and producer profitability.

The testing is available to New Zealand farmers, but it is done in Ireland, an Alltech NZ representative says. At least 140 samples have been sent from NZ with interesting results. . .

‘Choose Black’ wins gold:

A campaign to market mastitis treatments to dairy farmers has been recognised at the Westpac Waikato Business Awards.

The Choose Black marketing campaign was developed to showcase Virbac New Zealand’s locally made mastitis treatments.

At the start of the 2016-17 season Virbac targeted the lactating cow intramammary market where rival products had been used for many years. . .


Tax teachers to tackle tail of failures?

19/09/2017

Why don’t we tax teachers and use the money to tackle the tail of kids who fail at school?

That wouldn’t be fair, there are many reasons for children failing, you can’t hold all teachers responsible.

There are many reasons for the degradation of water quality, but you say it’s fair to tax all irrigators to clean it up. You could use the money for professional development for teachers who aren’t performing.

That’s ridiculous, you couldn’t take money from good teachers to upskill the bad. it’s not their responsibility, that’s up to principals or the ministry.

But Labour plans to take money from all irrigators and use some to bring poor performers up to standard even though regional councils already have the powers to make them comply.

And what about the teachers who are already doing everything they should, and spending their own money on further education. You can’t expect them to pay for those who don’t.

That’s exactly what Labour’s water tax would do. It would take money from irrigators who have spent and still are spending their own money to bring those who haven’t and aren’t up to scratch.

But what if the school doesn’t have a problem with pupils not achieving, what if it and it’s teachers are already doing everything they can for all their pupils?

The money could go to schools where there are problems.

But that’s not fair, you can’t tax teachers at one school and use the money to deal with problems at another.

That’s exactly the way the water tax would work. It would take money from the good in one place and use it to deal with problems in another.

But what if teacher standards aren’t the problem anyway? You can’t tax them for something over which they have no control.

That’s exactly how the water tax would work. It would take the money even if the problem with water quality was due to bird life, storm water or sewerage and nothing at all to do with irrigating or even farming.

And what exactly would the money be used for, how would it make a difference? You have to have a plan first then work out how to pay for it, not take the money and then find ways to spend it.

That’s exactly what’s been suggested for the water tax. Labour has said it would take the money, give some to Iwi, some to regional councils to clean up waterways, but with no plan for how they’d do that, and if any is left over it could be used for roads which are district council responsibilities. All of that’s very vague and nothing they’ve said explains how the money will make a difference to waterways.

Teachers always get the blame but you can’t make them pay because children are behind before they get to school, don’t have basic language, are hungry, have health problems . . .

Just like farmers get the blame for poor water quality when it isn’t them or their farming practices which are the problem.

It would simply be unfair to tax a whole group of professionals, with a vague intention to use the money to solve problems for which most aren’t responsible and over which they have little or no control and no concrete plan over how it could make a difference.

Exactly.

 

 

 

 


Will they, won’t they

14/07/2017

Labour NZ First Green Quadrille

(With apologies to Lewis Carroll).

 

“Will we give our vote to Labour? said a Green MP, one day

“NZ First keeps polling well but won’t usually vote our way.

“See how eagerly the media and the pundits rate the chance

“That we we’ll forget our principles and with Winston join the dance.

“Will we, won’t we, will we won’t we,

“Will we join the dance?

“Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we,

“Will we join the dance?”

 

“You can really have no notion how delightful it would be

“If the voters up and voted for us to run the whole country.

“But NZ First and Labour, our programme won’t advance

“So I’m really not convinced we’ll want to join their dance.

“We will thank the votes kindly, but we would not join the dance

“Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.

“Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.”

 

“What matters if  we pull the plug and Labour couldn’t rule?

“It would cost, but what the heck, we’d still be feeling cool.

“With every poll the pundits show we haven’t got a chance

“Of making it to cabinet and therefore don’t want to join the dance.

“Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we, will we join the dance?

Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we, won’t we join the dance?”


Clocks forward permanently

01/04/2017

The scheduled return to standard New Zealand time tomorrow morning has been cancelled and clocks will stay one-hour ahead permanently.

A spokesman for the Department of Infernal Affairs, Ms Sunny Disposition said that putting clocks back signalled the start of winter to many people and since summer weather had been so disappointing, few if any were ready for it.

“Most people agree daylight saving is good and if some is good then ipso facto more must be better,” she said.

“We can’t change the weather, but we can keep the clocks forward and allow people more daylight. The sun comes out in the day and after the sorry excuse for summer over much of the country that’s what we need to cheer us all up – more day and less night.

“We’ll all get more vitamin D and save power with less need for electric lights.”

A reporter who pointed out that whether or not clocks stayed forward an hour, there would be less daylight as the sun moved north, was told that wasn’t in the Department’s brief.

“Clocks and time are our preserve, if you have a question about the sun you’d be better talking to Met Service or NIWA,” Miss Disposition said.

“I understand someone from one or other of them will be available to talk around mid day.”

 

 


Why men shouldn’t vote

19/09/2016

It’s the 123rd anniversary of New Zealand women gaining the right to vote.

Apropos of this, Alice Duer Miller wrote in 1915:

Why we oppose votes for men:

1: Because man’s place is in the army.

2. Because no  really manly man  wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.

3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to the,.

4. Because men will lose their charms if they step out of the natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.

5. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct in baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.


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