Yes Sir Humphrey

12/05/2021


If proportionality is so important . . .

23/04/2021

The waka jumping law was one of the dead rats that New Zealand First forced Labour and the Green Party to swallow in the previous government.

It’s a rat for which Labour has now developed a taste:

Labour will vote against a proposed repeal of the Waka Jumping law, killing off any chances of removing the controversial law.

The Waka Jumping or ‘party hopping’ law allows parliamentary parties to remove their own MPs from Parliament in some circumstances, meaning party leaders and caucuses have the power not just to expel MPs from their own party, but from Parliament itself.

It was passed with much controversy last term after NZ First won agreement for it in the party’s coalition agreement with Labour. The Green Party, who have long opposed such laws, swallowed the “dead rat” and voted for the law – as the party believed it was bound to honour Labour’s obligation to NZ First. . . 

The Green Party’s disquiet with the law remained, and in the final months before last year’s election it backed a National Party members’ bill by Nick Smith which sought to repeal the law.

At that point before the election National and the Greens had enough votes together to pass bills, so the bill passed the first of the three readings it would need to become law.

But at the election Labour won an outright majority, meaning no bill can pass if Labour votes against them.

Labour had voted against repeal at the first reading, but openly mulled a change in position following the election.

However a report from the Justice Select Committee which considered the bill makes clear that Labour’s opposition to repeal remains – with the Labour-majority committee voting to recommend the bill not be passed.

Labour MP and Justice Select Committee chair Ginny Andersen said the committee members heard no compelling new case to repeal the law.

She said the “proportionality” of Parliament – basically the fact that the number of MPs in Parliament roughly corresponds to the number of party votes they received – was important.

“The proportionality of Parliament is important, that’s why we have MMP, maintaining that is important.”

“The Labour members on the committee all agreed that this is an important principle – the idea of proportionality. It helps maintain public confidence.” . . 

If proportionality was really the issue then Labour would be addressing the way a by-election can upset it if it’s won by a candidate from a different party than the one that held the seat before the election.

That’s what happened in Northland when National’s Mike Sabin resigned and Winston Peters won the by-election.

To maintain proportionality, National ought to have got another list MP. Instead another NZ First list MP came into parliament completely upsetting proportionality by leaving National with one MP fewer and the opposition with one more.

Labour didn’t make a murmur then and raising proportionality to oppose repeal of the waka jumping legislation is a feeble excuse not a valid reason.

It does however, beg a question – what makes Labour so unsure about the loyalty of its caucus that it isn’t prepared to bury the dead rat this term when it  swallowed it so reluctantly last term?


Yes Sir Humphrey

19/04/2021


Word of the day

02/04/2021

Cross –  a mark, object, or figure formed by two short intersecting lines or pieces; a figure or mark formed by two intersecting lines crossing at their midpoints;  such a mark used as a signature; an upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion, used as a symbol of Christianity; a cruciform sign made to invoke the blessing of Christ especially by touching the forehead, breast, and shoulders; a cross-shaped decoration awarded for personal valour or indicating rank in some orders of knighthood; an affliction that tries one’s virtue, steadfastness, or patience; s omething unavoidable that has to be endured; a mixture of two different things, types, or qualities; a mixture of two different things that have been combined to produce something new; a crossbred individual or kind; to cause (an animal or plant) to interbreed with one of a different kind ; a fraudulent or dishonest contest; dishonest or illegal practices; a movement from one part of a theater stage to another; a movement from one part of a theater stage to another; an attacking pass in soccer played across the field from one side to the other or to the middle; a security transaction in which a broker acts for both buyer and seller (as in the placing of a large lot of common stock); go or extend across or to the other side of (an area, stretch of water, etc.); pass in an opposite or different direction; intersect; to lie or be situated across; to cancel by marking a cross on or drawing a line through; strike out; to run counter to; to deny the validity of; to confront in a troublesome manner; to spoil completely; to turn against, betray; to lie or be athwart each other; to occur to; to reach, attain; to turn the eyes inward toward the nose; lying across or athwart; annoyed;  marked by typically transitory bad temper;


Milne muses

28/03/2021


Sunday soapbox

21/03/2021

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Where a reputation for intolerance is more feared than a reputation for vice itself, all manner of evil may be expected to flourish. – Theodore Dalrymple


Yes Sir Humphrey

15/03/2021


Christopher Plummer 13.12.29 – 5.2.21

06/02/2021

The man who played the hero in The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer, has died:

Christopher Plummer, who was among the greatest Canadian actors ever to grace stage and screen, has died.

Plummer died Friday morning at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side, said Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager.

“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humour and the music of words,” Pitt said in a statement to CBC News. “He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots.

“Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come. He will forever be with us.”

In a career that spanned over six decades, Plummer was nominated for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards three times and won once at 82 for Beginners, a film about a widower who begins to live life as a gay man while dying of cancer.

He also captured two Tony Awards among seven nominations, and took home two Emmys. He earned a reputation as one of the great classical actors of modern times — without attending a prestigious theatre school. . . 

Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer on Dec. 13, 1929 in Toronto, he was a descendant of John Abbott, Canada’s third prime minister. 

Plummer’s parents split up not long after his birth, and he was raised in relative privilege in Montreal by his mother and her extended family. He saw his father on only one other occasion years later.

A love for acting onstage was cemented by playing Mr. Darcy in a Montreal High School production of Pride and Prejudice. He would further develop his stagecraft at the Ottawa Repertory Theatre, and learned how to harness his baritone voice in CBC Radio plays.  . . 

I doubt there’s anyone of my generation who didn’t know Plummer as Captain Von Trapp, am I the only one who didn’t know he was Canadian?


Yes Sir Humphrey

05/02/2021


Yes Sir Humphrey

28/01/2021


Word of the day

26/01/2021

Incarnadine – a bright crimson or pinkish-red colour; having the pinkish color of flesh; red especially blood red; to colour (something) a bright crimson or pinkish-red; to tinge or stain with red.


Sowell says

23/01/2021


Sowell says

19/01/2021


Are we ready?

13/01/2021

How serious is the infection rate for Covid-19 in the UK?

This serious:

That tweet is from a doctor in the USA.

In New Zealand we are in the very fortunate situation of having no community transmission of the disease – at least none we’re aware of.

Is enough being done to ensure that continues and is enough being done to keep border workers safe?

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to deepen overseas, the National Party warns we’re exposing people to a “totally unacceptable” level of risk at the border. 

Four new cases were announced in managed isolation on Monday, and with the threat of two new strains of the virus looming, Judith Collins is telling the Government to start vaccinating now or consider closing the borders.

She’s accusing the Government of playing fast and loose with the new, more infectious strains of COVID-19, and agrees with epidemiologist Michael Baker, who told Newshub on Sunday it’s time to consider closing the borders to some countries.

“I think we are being a bit slow in response to these new, more infectious variants. I think now we have to be very proactive again and take decisive action,” he said.

“At one extreme, unfortunately, I think we may need to look at suspending travel from countries where this new variant is circulating very vigorously.” . . 

The government has already announced stricter conditions for returnees:

On Tuesday, the Government announced it will give the Director-General of Health the power to require a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test from all New Zealanders returning to the country – and he will soon do so.

Arrivals from Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific Island nations will be exempt.

Currently, just those returning to New Zealand from the UK or the US have to test negative prior to departure. . . 

Now all returnees will have to remain in their hotel rooms until they can be tested on their first day back in New Zealand. . . 

These measures will increase the likelihood of catching anyone who is infected and quarantining them sooner, but is it enough?

Citizens always have the right to come home.

Does that mean the government doesn’t have the right to require anyone coming from countries where the disease is rampant to be disease-free before they board a plane to return?

Even if they can, it would take time to to set up and in the meantime highly infectious people are coming home.

Is our border secure enough and are we ready if it’s not?


Sowell says

04/01/2021


Yes Sir Humphrey

30/12/2020


Word of the day

21/12/2020

Doomscrolling –  doomsurfing;  the act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news, to the detriment of the scroller’s mental wellness;  the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing; the practice of obsessively checking online news for updates, especially on social media feeds, with the expectation that the news will be bad, such that the feeling of dread from this negative expectation fuels a compulsion to continue looking for updates in a self-perpetuating cycle.

This is Public Address’s word of the year.


One rule for councils

21/12/2020

Contrast  this:

Floods, seawater and “fatbergs” will increasingly spew sewage into our homes, streets and waterways as the planet heats up, a new research paper warns.

With droughts intensifying, low water levels in our pipes and treatment plants will cause stinky, sulphurous fumes to waft from our flushed waste.

Because many of our towns and cities rely on old and often degraded pipes, we face a choice between expensive upgrades or poorly performing services in future, said Niwa coastal scientist and research co-author Rob Bell​. . . 

With this:

. . . Kaimai Dairy Farm Limited, the farm owner, and Glen John Ashford, the director of Kaimai Dairy Farm Limited and manager of the farm, both pleaded guilty to an offence of discharging dairy effluent onto land in circumstances where it may enter water.  . . 

The first story refers to councils and talks about choice even though failure to upgrade will cause pollution.

The second refers to a discharge that may cause polluiton.

Failure to do something when that will result in pollution would appear to be a far bigger problem than doing something that may pollute.

Why is there one rule for councils and another much tougher one for farms and other businesses?

If we are to improve freshwater councils must be held to the same standard as everyone else.


12 hours in Oamaru

15/12/2020

Neat Places has a guide for what to do with 12 hours in Oamaru.

It’s not exhaustive but does include Tees Street for breakfast and Cucina for dinner which would be a delightful and delicious way to start and finish your day.

Both are owned by Pablo and Yanina Tacchini who have just opened Del Mar:

Opening the doors to their newest restaurant was a bittersweet moment for Yanina and Pablo Tacchini, who could not have family with them for the special occasion.

Del Mar Eatery and Beach Bar opened to the public this week and was already fully booked for tomorrow night, Mrs Tacchini said.

The couple signed the lease on the former Portside restaurant building in September and have been flat out ever since, with the goal of being open for the summer.

Mrs Tacchini, who is from Argentina, said her parents should have been here for the opening, but because of Covid-19 it was not possible for them to travel to New Zealand. . . 

The plan for Del Mar was fast, simple fresh food and gelato that could be enjoyed on the premises or taken down to the beach.  . . 

We were at a pre-opening function last Monday and will definitely be back – often.


Word of the day

12/12/2020

Holystone – a soft and brittle sandstone used to scrub ships’ wooden decks; to scrub with a holystone.

Hat tip: David Hill


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