A draw’s a win and a loss


Last week’s post on the All Whites’ 1-1 draw with Slovenia Slovakia was to be my only one about the World Cup.

But after this morning’s game against Italy I couldn’t resist the urge to comment on perspective.

The game finished with another single goal for each side draw which is regarded as a loss for Italy and a win for us.

For more informed commentssee:

 Keeping Stock 78 versus 5

At No Minister Barnsley Bill reckons the result would be like Iceland holding the All Blacks to a draw.

Not PC says Woohoo! and has a round up of international media reports.

1-1: excitement’s contagious


What many regard as the beautiful game doesn’t feature on my radar and when I’ve come in ear shot of the TV while the World Cup’s been on the sound of the vuvuzelas, has driven me away.

But excitement is contagious and I have to applaud the All Whites for the 1-1 draw this morning.

Like the Hand Mirror, this is probably the only post I’ll write about the World Cup (soccer) edition.

For more informed views:

Keeping Stock has some bleary eyed reflections.

At No Minister Barnsley Bill says goooooooal

Kiwiblog says well done the All Whites – and philosophers may be interested in his comment that anything that isn’t a loss is a win.

And Not PC mixes art and sport with Glad Day William Blake.

The blogs they are a changing


Keeping Stock is going to work.

Barnsley Bill is going private.

Cactus Kate and Whale Oil are going together at Gotcha.

Memory – Susan Boyle


Tickets to Cats were sold out weeks ahead when I was in London in 1992.

The only way to get one was to queue for returns. I was third in line when I got to the theatre at about mid day, hoping for tickets to the 8pm show that evening.

It was worth the wait.

I’ve seen the show three times since then – one in Christchurch, twice in Dunedin and will go again when the Oamaru Operatic Society performs it later this year.

If I had to choose a favourite song from Cats it would be Shimble Shanks the Railway Cat, but Memory, which Susan Boyle sang for her semi final performance in Britain’s Got Talent, is a close second.

Hat Tip Something Should Go Here  who showed me it was on YouTube & Barnsley Bill who had a fulelr version.

There’s no “only” about the bank’s money


Stealing from an individual is theft, so is stealing from an institution but the reaction to the case of the couple who absconded after taking millions of dollars that were mistakenly credited to their account suggests not everyone thinks so.

The news has spread around the world and The Guardian has a comment by the editor of The Philospoher magazine Julian Baggini  who says:

People say such cases create “moral dilemmas”, but there are none. Taking the money is just wrong. You know it’s not yours and you could easily not take it. The only dilemma is whether to do the right thing or give in to temptation. Of course, it’s not difficult to invent spurious justifications. Some say the bank made the mistake so it should pay the price. That’s like stealing a car and saying it’s the fault of the owner for leaving the keys in. Others perversely descend into the ditch of self-serving mendacity and pretend they’re occupying the moral high ground. The banks are thieving, lying bastards who have spent all our money, they cry, so it’s only fair that we steal it back. WWRHD? (What would Robin Hood do?) Put it like that and it almost seems as if theft is your duty.

So we forget all the times we’ve said “two wrongs don’t make a right”. We forget that principled civil disobedience is carried out in public, not as secretly as possible. We forget that the answer to WWRHD? is that he’d give it away to the poor, not go on a spending binge. Most of all, we forget how quick we were to condemn politicians for milking their expenses, albeit legally, just because they could.

There is no moral complexity here, only a simple truth of human nature: that something that seems very wrong can quickly and easily seem very right, if it suits us.

He might be right but the behaviour isn’t, although that view isn’t supported by a disturbing number of the commenters at The Herald who think it’s okay because it’s “only” a bank.

But it’s not “only” the bank’s money. It’s the money of the customers and shareholders who will pay one through higher charges and lower dividends for the costs of the theft.

I concur with Barnsley Bill  who asks how did we get to be so dishonest?

Please tell me it isn’t so – updated & updated again


Trans Tasman is reporting that Michael Cullen will be appointed to chair NZ Post and KiwiBank when Jim Bolger retires.

A loyal National Party member has just phoned to tell me he and others who spent nine years working to get Cullen’s hands off the reins are furious about this and I share their views.

There must be someone better equipped for these roles than the man who overtaxed and over spent for nine long years, leaving our economy far less able to weather the recession than it would have been had his policies been directed at growth rather than redistribution.

SOEs have been underperforming and need highly skilled leadership and that requires someone with a far greater regard for other people’s money than Cullen.

When the idea of Cullen chairing an SOE was  first mooted, blue tinted bloggers were united in their opposition. If the first to react are any indication they haven’t changed their minds: 

Fairfacts Media asks what is John Key playing at?

Kiwiblog says it’s a crappy move

UPDATE: SOE Minister Simon Power has announced:

“Hon Dr Michael Cullen has been appointed to the board of New Zealand Post, and is expected to become deputy chair in the medium term. 


Fairfacts Media thinks Cullen deputising Bolger is too good to be true

At No Minsiter Psycho Milt  is amused but Lou Taylor isn’t.

Keeping Stock thinks John Key is up to something


Roarprawn reckons it’s a poisoned chalice.

Cactus Kate was forced to seek solace in oysters and Moet

Barnsley Bill’s vote has been lost  and Not PC wonders why  he gave it to National anyway.

Whaleoil is disgusted then has second thoughts  and thinks John Key has snookered Labour.


The red rag was thrown and the blue blogs roared, but what if we’re wrong and it’s really a cunning plot?

Fairfacts Media doesn’t think the job’s as good as it looks.

Anti Dismal  has a better idea – sell the SOEs.


at NZ Conservative Zen Tiger spots a pirate plot  and muses on the relevance of history

Macdcotor advises Cullen not to trip on the way out.

At Tumeke!  Tim Selwyn thinks it’s unbelievable.

In his own words on his own blog


Fairfacts Media has been blogging at No Minister and Barnsley Bill.

Now he’s become a lone-blogger at The Fairfacts Media Show.

Hat Tip: Barnsley Bill

Why on earth would they do this?


If you had an uneconomic business to sell and knew that the government which was most likely to buy it was also the one least likely to be there after an impending election, how keen would you be do do a deal with it?


And being very keen, would you be hard to deal with?


Would you even be prepared to compromise on what you were prepared to accept rather than risk having no deal at all if the government changed?

Almost certainly.

Why then did Labour, spend so much more on what has become AlbatrossRail than it was worth when Toll Holdings would have been very, very willing sellers?

And given that, why on earth would anyone consider appointing Michael Cullen to the board of an SOE when he has demonstrated his lack of business acumen not just with this purchase and the ACC blow out but nine years of wasted opportunities?

I’ve just got back from Wellington and have come across the story late in the day so am not surprised so many other blogs have covered it and are united in their condemnation of the idea:

Keeping Stock says No John No

Kiwblog has problems with this  and comes up with more appointments for the government to consider.

No Minister says No, no, no  and asks is NZ now a Fools Paradise?

Roarprawn is aghast.

Cactus Kate calls it a National disgrace.

NZ Conservative suggests another job with a lot less pay.

Oswald Bastable also suggests another job.

Anti-Dismal sees politics where there should be commerce.

Barnsley Bill hopes it’s a joke.

Inquiring Mind says Absolutely bloody outrageous.

PM of NZ isn’t being tribal.

Whaleoil says No way.

UPDATE: Monkeywithtypewriter thinks this is all a personal PR campaign for Cullen.

Why do farm quad bikes have to be registered?


One of our men was stopped by a policeman while riding a farm quad bike on the road between paddocks yesterday and told the bike ought to registered.

We hadn’t realised that so rang the bloke who sold it to us and he said that farm quads could have e-plates which would cost us $100 and the bikes wouldn’t need Warrents of Fitness or be fully registered which would cost around $290 and the bikes would need WoFs.

I checked the Land Transport website  and found that:

Exempt Class A vehicles are not exempt from registration and licensing but are exempt from registration fees and the vehicle licence portion of the licensing fee. You still have to pay for other fees and levies included in the total licensing fee – for example, you still have to pay for the appropriate ACC levy, registration plates and labels.

Exempt Class A vehicles include:

all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) used on a public highway, in moving from the owner’s residence to a road that isn’t a public highway, where the distance travelled doesn’t exceed three kilometres, or in connection with the inspection, servicing or repair of the vehicle.

Then we have Exempt Class B vheicles which may be exempt from some levies and include:

A motor vehicle (not a trailer) designed for agricultural operations and used on a road solely for agricultural operations, including mobile or movable huts, galleys, and similar motor vehicles used on a road solely in connection with such operations.  . . 


A motor vehicle (not a trailer) owned by a farmer and only used on the road to go from one part of the farm to another part of the same farm, or from one farm to another farm owned or managed by the same person, for agricultural operations.

I presume that quad bikes fit one of these categories and accept the case for an ACC levy but don’t see why they need plates and labels.

I thought registration fees were a tax to pay for roading so I’m not sure why a bike which is only on the road to get from one paddock to another has to be registered, espeically when most of those roads will be minor roads which are the responsibility of local councils not Transit NZ.

However, I should be grateful the policeman didn’t give our man a ticket. Barnsley Bill was not so lucky and his experience has generated a lot of comments on his own blog  and No Minister.

P.S. – for any pedants I realise that a quad isn’t by definition a bike but common usage triumphs over logic.

In Flanders Fields


It’s Armistice Day and the 90th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Keeping Stock ,  PM of NZ and Oswald Bastable  also remember.

UPDATE: Lou Taylor at No Minister  and Barnsley Bill  mark the date too.

My grandfather fought in Egypt where he looked after the horses and, thankfully, was not sent to Gallipoli.

He didn’t like talking about the war and Mum remembered him burying his medals in the garden, never to be seen again.

UPDATE 2: Poneke  posts on the sons who lie in Flanders fields.

Now you’ve got a choice


Mary Holm says National’s policy won’t undermine KiwiSaver:

The National Party’s proposed changes to KiwiSaver would considerably reduce two of the biggest gripes about the scheme – that some people can’t afford it and that it ties up savings.

They also show National is broadly supportive of KiwiSaver, allaying fears that the party would make it not worthwhile to join if it became the government.

True, the freezing of employer contributions at 2 per cent of pay from next April – rather than rising to 4 per cent by 2011 – would make KiwiSaver somewhat less attractive for employees.

But with the government kick-start, tax credits and other incentives unchanged, KiwiSaver would still be the best way for most employees to save.

. . . For the self-employed and non-employees, including children, KiwiSaver would be unchanged under a National government.

The reduction of the minimum employee contribution from 4 per cent to 2 per cent of pay means it would be easier to afford KiwiSaver, especially after taking tax cuts into account. People earning $40,000 or less have already received tax cuts from October 1 that would more than cover 2 per cent KiwiSaver contributions, and those on higher incomes aren’t far behind.

By the time National’s April 2009 tax cuts took effect, everyone’s pay would have increased by considerably more than 2 per cent.

People reluctant to tie up 4 per cent of their pay – usually until they buy their first home or reach NZ Super age – could tie up only half that amount and still receive the incentives. They could continue to save the other 2 per cent in a non-KiwiSaver vehicle, with the money accessible at any time.

Many would find this 2 per cent option attractive. It would enable them to take out savings to start a business or to help out family or friends – things they can’t do with KiwiSaver money, although it can be withdrawn if the member suffers serious illness, financial hardship or goes overseas.

Anyone who would prefer to tie up their money, because they would otherwise spend it, could continue to contribute 4 or 8 per cent of pay to KiwiSaver.

Lowering the minimum employee contribution to 2% makes it easier for those with less money to spare for savings and those who can afford more can contribute more if they choose to or invest the extra savings where they aren’t tied up until retirement.

National trusts us enough to give us more choice.

UPDATE: Keeping Stock agrees 2% may attract more savers.

UPDATE 2: so does Barnsley Bill.

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