Greens support free expression only when it suits

14/02/2011

It’s difficult to decide which is more offensive, the decision to prevent Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaking in Parliament or Green Party co-leader Russel Norman’s explanation for doing so:

“The government of the day could invite all sorts of unpleasant people, like (former United States president) George Bush for example they had in Australia, that I think a lot of Members of Parliament would be uncomfortable with and so we thought the best thing was to keep a simple precedent.”

Heaven forbid the delicate ears of our Members of Parliament should be assailed with something which discomforts them!

But let’s not overlook this means the Green Party which purports to uphold democracy and campaigns for freedom of speech in far flung corners of the world won’t allow it in our House of Representatives.

There’s nothing special about supporting freedom of expression for those whose ideas coincide with yours. Real supporters of freedom of expression must allow those with whom they disagree to speak freely too.

As Noam Chomsky said: If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all

Similar sentiments have been expressed by many others:

We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.  ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.  ~Henry Steele Commager

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.  ~Tommy Smothers

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.  ~Voltaire

Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.  ~Potter Stewart

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.  If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth:  if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.  ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.  ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.  For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.  ~John F. Kennedy

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.  ~Voltaire

Hat Tip: Petty and small minded at Whaleoil and  The Petty Greens at Keeping Stock.

Update:

Alf Grumble reckons the grumpy Greens need garroting for gazzumping the Gillard prescedent.


Alf’s office?

25/06/2010

We took the long way home from the Wairarapa yesterday, going via Bulls.

En route, we passed through Eketahuna, home of Alf Grumble MP.

I didn’t spot him in town, perhaps he was busy in Wellington.

But I did see this sign which I presume points to his office:

If it does, I presume if people turn left they’ll be right.


What’s in it for us?

23/08/2009

North and South editor Virginia Larson tells us in this month’s editorial she requested an interview with All Black captain Richie McCaw.

I wanted to find out what makes a leader out of a young man; what people and places shaped him in his childhood; how he bears the hopes and expectation of thousands every time he leads his team into the arena.

After some exchange of emails with McCaw’s agent, a final phone call came to this: “What’s in it for us?” said the agent. Well, there was no money, of course, and on the spot I couldn’t guarantee a cover . . . But didn’t he value a thoughtful, in-depth profile to be read by close to 3000,000 people . . .

Clearly, he didn’t. Access denied.

If the All Blacks, want to gain back the place they once had in New Zealanders’ hearts, the question isn’t what’s in it for them but what’s in it for us, the public.

My father and brothers weren’t interested in rugby, they preferred sailing. But radio commentaries provided a background to my childhood Saturday afternoons because my mother often listened to them, especially when her nephew was playing for University or Otago.

I didn’t watch a game until I was 17 when the prefects from Waitaki Girls’ were invited to watch inter-school matches at Waitaki Boys’. It didn’t really matter what was on, it was an excuse for an afternoon out of class and with boys.

A few excursions to Carisbrook when I was a student followed and there were also some late/night early morning parties when we crowded round a black and white television to watch a test from overseas. But the attraction was not so much what was happening on the field as the opportunity for fun with friends.

The next memory I have of rugby was 1981 and the Springbok tour. While some people a little older than I am feel it was a defining issue, I didn’t. I was in my first job as a journalist and reported on local reactions, and happened to be in Christchurch with friends when there was a test somewhere which we watched on TV, but it was not a major concern or interest for me.

I was overseas the following year, returned home to be married and have vague memories of gatherings with friends at our home or theirs to watch the odd test in the next few years.

It wasn’t until 1995 when we hosted an AFS student from Argentina who played rugby that I watched a live game. That was a World Cup year and the All Blacks toured New Zealand, stopping in provincial towns to meet their fans. I took our student who could speak only a little English, to meet them. His excitement at exchanging a few words in Spanish with Eric Rush and shaking hands with Sean Fitzpatrick brought home to me the strength of their influence and international reputation.

The Super 12 competition started the following year and we travelled down to Dunedin and Christchurch to watch several games. We watched a few NPC games  at Lancaster Park and Carisbrook too, including the one when Otago didn’t win the Ranfurly Shield and one when they did win the NPC competition.

Then what happened? The season got longer, the competition didn’t have the same attraction and frustration at the way rugby interfered with other functions grew. I’ve watched a few North Otago games but last year went to Dunedin only once for an NPC game, this year I half-watched a Super 14 game on TV and haven’t yet watched a test.

I know just enough about the game to sit through a match, but I need an emotional connection to enjoy it. I might have that with Valley which is our local team and North Otago, but I no longer have it with any teams higher up. I’d be hard pressed to name any Highlander or Otago players and couldn’t name more than a handful of All Blacks.

Part of the reason for that might lie in a comment from Graham Henry which caught Alf Grumble’s attention:

“. . . I guess the product’s not too great and that’s disappointing.”

When I read that I begin to wonder if Karl du Fresne really had been in the All Black dressing room when he wrote:

The meeting opened with a team official launching a withering attack on player A, who had been seen in a Durban bar wearing a non-approved hair gel. The player’s excuse – that he had a new executive assistant who had packed the wrong makeup kit – was contemptuously brushed aside.

Next, player B was fined for having turned up late at a promotional appearance to launch the ABs’ new personal fragrance range, evocatively named Scrum. . .

It didn’t used to be a product. The players were heroes but not plastic celebrities. They were real, grounded people connected to and respectful of the public who admired them.

At least some of the current All Blacks might still be like that. From what I know of Richie McCaw, who grew up in the HakaValley not far from here, he definitely is. But his agent has let him down and has also let rugby down.

When the agent had to ask, “what’s in it for us?”  and the coach talks about the product they’ve both lost sight of what’s important.

It’s not a product it’s a game. The All Blacks aren’t royalty who command attention, they’re players who need to connect with the public if they want to win back fans.

I’m writing this on Saturday evening. The All Blacks will be playing the Wallabies soon. I might turn the TV on to watch the national anthems and the haka and to see if I can catch sight of some people I know in the crowd because they happened to have important business in Sydney this weekend.

But I won’t stay awake for the game and while I’ll hope that New Zealand will win, that’s no more than I’d want if it was the national tiddlywinks team playing the Australians.

I’m over rugby which isn’t of any great concern if it’s only me. But it’s not. A lot of people, especially women, share my lack of interest and that ought to be of great concern for the Rugby Union who wants us all to get behind the World Cup.

They haven’t got long to get us enthusiastic again. They could start by realising that unless they can persuade us there’s something in it for us, there isn’t anything in it for them. A good first step would be for that agent to phone North and South to arrange a time that suits the journalist for an interview with Richie.


LVT backs farmers on amenity values

02/08/2009

The Otago Land Valuation Tribunal has backed farmers in their case against the inclusion of amenity values in rents for high country pastoral leasehold land.

This is a victory for farmers and common sense.

The previous government had instructed valuers to include amenity values including views and privacy when assessing rents farmers with pastoral leases pay.

It would have meant steep increases in the cost of farming the high country which bore no relationship to its earning potential.

Rents have always been set on land exclusive of improvements and the tribunal’s ruling has backed this stance.

Jonathon and Annabel Wallis of Minaret Station took a test case to the tribunal with the support of the High Country Accord.

It has been an expensive and worrying process for them and their supporters.

The ruling could be appealed but the change of government makes that unlikely.

Ministers have been careful not to pre-empt the judgement but earlier statements from them on the matter suggest they will not only accept the tribunal’s ruling, they will be supportive of it.

Alf Grumble’s approval of the ruling suggests he will be lobbying for that. Although I suspect that won’t be necessary because unlike the previous administration this one appreciates that a sheep isn’t worth any more because the land it grazes has a good view.

The ODT and Southland Times have reports on the case.


First do no harm

18/06/2009

First do no harm is a guiding principle in medicine.

If politicians and bureaucrats abided by it too we wouldn’t be saddled with the Kyoto Protocol in its current form. Nor would New Zealand be in danger of scoring an on-goal economically while at best making no impact on the environment and almost certainly  making it worse.

However, a joint report by the NZIER and Infometrics provides a glimmer of hope that reason might be brought to bear on our Kyoto commitments.

Environment Minister Nick SMith said at its release:

This report concludes that a modified emissions trading scheme is the best way forward. I am releasing this report to assist with informed public debate on climate change.

“The report highlights that the costs to New Zealand’s climate change policy are significantly greater if other countries do not put a price on carbon. This reinforces the Government’s policy of aligning our response more closely with other countries.

The report concludes:

On balance, our recommendation in the short run is to introduce an ETS with free allocation to competitiveness-at-risk sectors, with agriculture excluded if measurement of its emissions is prohibitively expensive. Free allocation should be output-linked and phased out as our competitors adopt carbon pricing. If agriculture is initially excluded it should be transitioned into the ETS, with free allocation if required, as measurement becomes economic.

The hardworking MP for Eketahuna, Alf Grumble, reckons this will give agriculture a bit of breathing space. I trust he’s lobbying his colleagues to ensure it does.


Carter questions court action – Updated

15/05/2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter is questioning Fish & Game’s leadership  after its failed attempt to gain public access to pastoral lease land.

“I seriously question the use of hunting and fishing licensing fees in taking this action, and I will be discussing this further with the Minister of Conservation.

“I am concerned this divisive action was taken when there was no foundation for Fish and Game’s claim for greater public access to high country stations.

“A pastoral lease gives the runholder the right to say who has access to their leasehold land. This is no different from private property owners,” says Mr Carter.

“The fundamental duty of Fish and Game is to advocate for hunters and fishers, and to help enhance their relationship with rural landowners. . . “

How refreshing to have a Minister who stands up for farmers and rightly questions whether Fish and Game should be using licence fees for its political and litigious campaigns.

Anecdotal evidence from hunters and fishers suggest the Minister is more in touch with their concerns than the body their licence fees funds.

This misguided court action was expensive for licence holders, tax payers and farmers and it’s not just money but goodwill that was wasted.

UPDATE:

Federated Farmers said the court action was a disaster:

The challenge was a failed attempt to by-pass all the work associated with walking access and it is a spiteful and damaging waste of the fishing and hunting license fee money. . .

“This decision brings relief for affected High Country farming families, as they now know Fish & Game members won’t be entitled to walk all over them,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers High Country chairman.

Both Federated Farmers and the High Country Accord played an instrumental role in the formation and development of the Walking Access Commission.

“We have contributed positively to the development of rules for public access that give pastoral leaseholders and their families security and certainty. Meanwhile, Fish & Game’s Executive has sadly played nothing but a negative and destructive role. . .

“High Country pastoral leases impose strict conditions on us as farmers. The judgment acknowledges that leaseholders are responsible for much more than just grass.

“It’s only right that farmers have the ability to control and manage access to such land. This decision enables pastoral leaseholders to operate a business and maintain authority over their property rights contained in their leases. 

“The High Court’s judgement also recognises that pastoral leaseholders perform a stewardship role. In other words, we farm with the High Country and not against it. . .

“Fish & Game chief executive, Bryce Johnston, now needs to take a long hard long look at his and his Council’s decision to waste a vast amount of license fee money on this challenge.

“Federated Farmers consider it also time for the Government to look at the legislative privilege that enables Fish & Game to fund such frivolous litigation. This inappropriate use of license fee money should not go unchecked by Government,” Mr Aubrey concluded.

High Country Accord chair Jonathon Wallis issued a media release in which he asked if the action was a misuse of funds.

“Not just the huge amount of money farmers have been forced to direct into these proceedings away from rejuvenating our economy through expanding and maintaining agricultural production, but both the vast amount of tax payer funds that went into jointly defending it and the allocation of precious funds more commonly used for the protection and establishment of habitat for our fish and game.”

“The latter are funds generated by the sale of Fish and Game licenses sold to hunters and anglers who for almost a century have respected the goodwill and relationships established between farmers and recreationalists regardless of it being a matter of privilege as opposed to right.”

“The question also has to be asked whether this was not just a personal crusade by an executive distorted from the opinion of the general membership of Fish and Game itself.”

Wallis said he allowed licensed duck shooters on to his property on opening morning because he wasn’t blaming them for the actions of the national council.

Alf Grumble and The Bull Pen also post on the issue.


Hottest & Hunkiest – How Sad is That?

05/05/2009

If bloggers were lined up across the politcial spectrum, the erstwhile MP for Eketahuna Alf Grumble would generally be at the blue end and the women at the Hand Mirror would be at the pink to red end.

But today they are in accord over the quest for the hottest businessswoman and hunkiest businessman.

Alf says:

Much more fundamentally, Alf is flabbergasted that the Fairfax clowns have the gall to contend:

Here at BusinessDay we take business very seriously.

. . . Yes, Alf is only too aware of the recessionary bite. It is chewing up jobs and it is corroding people’s investments.

That’s precisely why he doesn’t give a toss about who is the hottest or the hunkiest. . .

Deborah at The Hand Mirror says:

Mind you, it is at least an equal opportunity *headdesk*. They’re promising a poll on NZ’s hottest businessman tomorrow.

Sigh…

There’s a place for  judging people on their appearances but it’s not the business pages of media which wish to be taken seriously and there are far more intelligent ways to bring a bit of lightness and humour if they feel the need to  counteract the economic gloom.


Some Earth Day initiatives off the planet

22/04/2009

When you work on the land, every day is earth day.

Even when you don’t, but live with someone who makes a living from the land, every day is earth day.

For everyone involved in primary industry on land or sea, the environment isn’t an academic concept, it’s where we live and work and the majority of us regard our responsibility for doing as much as we can to make a positive, and lessen any negative, impact on it seriously.

But today is not every day earth day, it’s capital E capital D Earth Day.

That’s when we’re all supposed to save the world but some of the calls to action have come from people who seem to be not so much for the earth as from another planet.

The most deluded of these had to be European Green MP Caroline Lucas who compares people who fly with those who stab others (Hat tip: Kiwiblog 

Then Alf Grumble spotted PETA’s media release calling on Environment Minister Nick Smith to turn vegetarian and saw an opportunity for Busted Blonde.

She wasn’t impressed  about that, and also took exception  to the suggestion that fat people contribute more CO2 than thin people.

Deborah reacted with justifiable ire to the same story from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine  with a cross post on fat hatred at In A Strange Land and The Hand Mirror.

And now I’ve come across to be green eat less red.

Conventionally raised livestock generates 18 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released by the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization in 2006. That’s more than the emissions created by all the world’s cars, trains, planes and boats combined. In comparison, transportation is responsible for 13 percent of the emission problem.

 I’m not sure what conventional means;  and whether this is just the emissions from the animals or from the total production chain from paddock to plate because there is a big difference in the environmental footprint of free range, pasture raised stock like the majority of animals farmed in New Zealand and those reared in feedlots as many are overseas.

Regardless of that, this might not be as off the wall as comparing flying to murder, linking obesity with climate change  and PETA’s call to go vegetarian, but it’s still misguided.

Eating moderate amounts of lean meat is recommended for personal health but I’m not convinced that in itself it would be any better for the planet. If people chose high fat, high sugar, low fibre alternatives to meat their diet would be less healthy and the impact on the environment might be  worse too.

It’s silly to take just one behaviour in isolation, everyone’s total impact on the environment is what matters and if someone chooses to eat a bit more meat but use less petrol it would be difficult to say that they were treading less gently on their patch of the earth than a vegetarian who drives an old, inefficient vehicle.

We have only one world and all have a responsibility to look after it, but let’s base our policies and practices for doing that on science not half-baked emotion.

P.S.

For every action there is a reaction and the reaction to Earth Day is Exploit the Earth Day about which Not PC has a comprehensive post.


Eskimo lollies leave sour taste

21/04/2009

A Canadian Inuit touring New Zealand has been offended by one of the staples of the Kiwi lolly mixture, the marshmellow Eskimos .

Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons, 21, an Inuit of the Nunavut Territory in Canada, says the Eskimo lolly, manufactured by Cadbury/Pascall, is an insult to her people.

The word Eskimo is unacceptable in her country and carries with it negative racial connotations, she said.

She intends sending packets of the iconic confectionary to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and her grandfather, a Inuit tribal elder in the Nunavut Territory.

A name change by the manufacturer will no doubt be called a PC over-reaction, but would we say that if we came across a marshmellow caricature called a Hori in another country?

Is this very different from the name change for the wee white sticks with the pink ends we called cigarettes when I was a child? They’re now known as space sticks because the attitude to smoking has changed and it’s, correctly, seen as silly to associate smoking with sweets.

Now that the insult has been pointed out, Cadbury/Pascal will have to have a rethink and when they act on that I’m sure we’ll find that marshmellow lollies by another name will taste as sweet.

UPDATE: Alf Grumble  has a different view.

UPADATE 2: Keeping Stock  is on Alf’s side.


Now this is really silly

14/04/2009

Norwegian police pulled up a car for speeding and found the driver “in a compromising position” with his girlfriend on his lap.

UPDATE: Alf Grumble  has a link to a fuller story which introduces hefty motion to the list of euphemisms for sex.


Dirty water

29/03/2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter was right when he said, in reference to dairying & clean streams:

The small number of dairy farmers who ignore effluent disposal requirements are damaging the reputation of the dairy industry as a whole.

It is simply unacceptable to pollute. Not only does it antagonise environmental organisations but also wider New Zealand. More importantly, it risks the hard-gained reputation that New Zealand Inc. has established in our international markets.

There is no excuse for wanton pollution of waterways but this isn’t just a country issue.

Earlier this month sewage was visible off the coast of Dunedin and Dave Haywood at Public Address discovered the people of Christchurch might be flushing their loos into the Avon and Heathcote rivers.

Well, frankly, this sucks. And it sucks that I even have to point out how much it sucks. Surely it’s absolutely obvious that you shouldn’t dump raw sewage into a river — any river — let alone a river that runs through a major city. Even if it’s only when the wastewater network becomes ‘overloaded’ (which, incidentally, the council expects will be around twice a year).

While dairy farmers are – quite rightly – being fined if they allow  cattle or effluent , near water ways, whole cities are discharging untreated sewage into rivers and the sea.

That’s what I call a very inconvenient truth.

Hat Tip: Alf Grumble


Cleaning up the effluent

07/03/2009

One of the by products of turning grass in to protein is manure and when a lot of it is collected in one place, like a milking shed, the question of disposal arises.

Most dairy farmers follow the rules and do it as prescribed by regional councils in a manner which adds nutrients to the soil without polluting waterways.

A few either don’t know or don’t care and when councils discover breaches of consents they prosecute but in spite of this some farmers still aren’t doing all they can to improve their systems so Fonterra has come up with a carrot and stick approach to solving the problem.

The carrot comes in the form of advice fromt heir staff and the stick will be deductions from milk payouts.

The minority of farmers who deliberately, or through ignorance, breach discharge consents reflect badly on the whole industry so I”m pleased that Fonterra is taking this approach.

Alf Grumble  notes this isn’t good enough for the Greens and Fish & Game but rightly points out that compliance is a matter for councils and that Fonterra’s penalties aren’t a substitute for any legal action, they’ll be in addition to it.


Greenmail or compensation?

16/02/2009

When is money paid by the applicant for resouce consent to an individual or body objecting to the consent greenmail and when is it compensation?

The question has come up as the story (three posts back) about Meridian Energy paying DOC has developed.

John Key says the payments would be okay if it was to offset environmental impacts  but not if it’s hush money.

Director-General Al Morrison said a suggestion DOC accepted money in a secret deal to remain quiet over the windfarm proposal is totally inaccurate.

“In this case an agreement was reached which resulted in $175,000 being set aside to improve public access to nearby conservation land and for a series of plant and birdlife issues to be addressed,” Mr Morrison said. . .

. . . “Clauses were specifically entered into the agreements to ensure the details could be publicly released once signed and they have already been fully tabled, including the amount agreed, before the Environment Court,” he said.

Trust Power spokesman Graeme Purches says it  also had an agreement with DOC but:

Mr Purches said some people are calling these deals bribery but that is wrong.

“It’s about working with stake-holders to get a win-win. It’s not about bribery. I think anyone who suggests you can bribe a Government department like DoC has got rocks in their head,” Mr Purches said.

The Resource Management Act allows for payments to be made to mitigate or compensate for adverse effects of any development.

What raised hackles with this example was the suspicion DOC had accepted the payment to remain silent and had done that because of a decision by the previous government to take a whole of government approach in support of the application.

P.S.

Kathryn Ryan had extended interviews and also covered the issue in this morning’s political slot on Nine to Noon;  and Mary Wilson interviewed Al Morrison on Checkpoint.

Alf Grumble  asks, what’s up Doc?


Rural voices in the blogosphere

11/02/2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter has joined the blogosphere at Over The Fence  ,  it’s good to not only have a blogging minister but another rural voice.

I’ve recently discovered another rural blogs: Kismet Farm.

Others who give a rural perspective on the blogosphere are:

Agridata

Alf Grumble MP

Bull Pen 

RivettingKate Taylor

2B Sophora

I’ve also just discovered Half Pie who isn’t rural, but he was a country boy.

If you write, or know of, any other rural blogs, I’d appreciate you leaving the web address in the comments.

Hat Tips: Kiwiblog & Lindsay Mitchell.


We don’t know how lucky we are

29/01/2009

In the depths of the 1980s ag-sag the Oamaru Mail decided it had a duty to cheer people up and announced a policy to put only good news on the front page.

That didn’t last long because it soon became obvious that it was more than a wee bit silly to give the front page lead to a story of little substance because it was “good” news and put stories of far more substance and importance on page three because they were “bad” news.

Highlighting the positive should be left to censors and propoganda merchants not the media, but that doesn’t mean they should go to the opposite extreme and be prophets of doom.

Alf Grumble has declared war on sad sacks  and I think he has a point – and not just because I was flattered when he saluted me as the bearer of glad tidings   and quoted from my opinion piece  in the ODT (though I don’t think he realised that  it was written by me).

Commentators, analysts and others whose opinions are sought by the media are painting a very gloomy picture and while there is no doubt we are in troubling ecomomic times, out here in the real world things aren’t that bad.

And maybe that’s part of the solution – the doomsayers are breathing the stale air of the big cities but if they got out into the provinces they might realise there’s no need to get depressed.

It worked for Colin Espiner who’s returned to work with a positive outlook after a few weeks out of Wellington and what he’s saying is a fairer reflection of what’s happening in rural New Zealand than the bad news stories which are making the headlines.

A small town retailer told me he’d had the same turnover in the six weeks to mid January this year as he’d had in the whole three months of last summer; the milk payout is down from last year’s record but Fonterra’s $5.10 is still the third highest yet; sheep and beef returns are well up; interest rates, fuel and fertiliser prices are dropping  . . .

I’m not saying we should break out the champagne but like Busted Blonde I can play Pollyanna and see plenty to be happy about so maybe what’s needed is a bit of balance in economic and social reporting so we don’t get talked into a depression.

And maybe we need to remember Fred Dagg and appreciate that we don’t know how lucky we are.


Irish producers seek taxpayer support

22/01/2009

Irish producers are calling for taxpayers to subsidise a sterling equalisation support scheme  to compensate them for the fall in the value of the pound which has reduced their returns from exports to Britain.

This comes just days after the European Union agreed to resume subsidies  on butter, cheese and milk powder which Alf Grumble thinks requries a less diplomatic approach  than the initial response from New Zealand.

Subsidies blunt market signals and will prolong the slump in prices because they’ll send artificial signals to maintain or boost production in the face of falling demand and they’ll also threaten free trade negotiations.

Both of these will harm our exporters and the wider economy.


So many blogs . . .

16/01/2009

Oh dear, I don’t need any more excuses for work avoidance but Inquiring Mind  has pointed me to Alf Grumble, the long-serving, hard working and obviously modest MP for Eketahuna North who has been driven to blogging by the MSM’s failure to notice him.

I’m delighted to have another provincial/rural voice in the blogosphere. While I still chortle over John Clark’s skit A Mystery in Eketahuna,  and have passed through the town I’m not familiar with Alf’s electorate and have to confess I didn’t realise he was in the National caucus although this post  suggests he is.

Somewhat further to the left, and without Alf’s sense of humour, is another newish blog, Kiwipolitico which has joined my list of daily reads. Today Anita is wanting to know who took down Winston?

For something usually sans politics but with plenty of humour, Laughykate is also worth a regular check.

Where poetry stars on Homepaddock on the last day of the working week, it’s Friday Frocks  over at Craft Is The New Black  (and who couldn’t like someone adicted to presents, chocolates, cherries and sun?).

On the subject of delicious things, Bitsontheside has discovered chocolate pencils.

Back to matters rural, The Bull Pen  is another must-read.


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